Cost of EMR ownership often much higher than expected

Surprise, surprise! Even as buyers have grown more savvy and able to find a cost-effective EMR, the true cost of ownership of an acute-care EMR often is far higher than expected, KLAS Enterprises reports. And vendor choice can play an important part in whether a hospital gets its money's worth.

For example, the Orem, Utah-based research firm says in a new report, it often takes huge investments in staffing, vendor and consultant services to move from "general clinical use" of an inpatient EMR to strong adoption of advanced functions like computerized physician order entry.

"Some of the less expensive EMR adoptions may sacrifice depth of CPOE to keep costs low," KLAS founder and report author Kent Gale says in a press release. "Deep physician adoption typically has a major budget impact and requires significant investment."

Adds Gale, "When purchasing an acute-care EMR solution, providers wonder if they will be able to count on what they have budgeted, if they will experience major cost overruns and if they will get their money's worth especially when it comes to physician use."

Epic Systems is the only vendor to earn high ratings from KLAS for value, though the Verona, Wis., vendor tends to have the largest deployments and thus the best chance its customers can benefit from economies of scale. Meditech, based in Westwood, Mass., is most likely to deliver to its clients what was promised in contracts, but that company often falls short in providing "proactive help" toward customers getting their money's worth, KLAS reports.

GE Healthcare apparently remains burdened by its acquisition of IDX Systems from five years ago. Since that deal closed in January 2006, KLAS has found a "reported a downward trend in GE's meeting commitments" to its customers. But, says Gale, "Keeping contractual commitments is tough for almost all vendors, especially in the implementation and go-live phases."

For more:
- check out this CMIO story
- read this KLAS press release
- find out how to order the report