EHR Unexpected Costs

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EHR Unexpected Costs

Welcome to the fifth installment of our ten part series of tips to help you make the smartest Electronic Medical/Health Records (EMR/EHR) purchase.  With more than 400 EMR vendors out there, it is important to understand the hidden fees. 

Part 5 - "Ouch!  The Unexpected Wallet-ectomy of Annual Fees!"

     “Uncle Sam is going to foot the bill for your new $40,000 EMR system!  Woo Hoo!  Sign here please.”  You can almost see the curled mustache of the caped villain as the conveyor belt moves you toward the spinning saw blade, can’t you?  When the government funds of an almost mandatory new technology, it is no surprise to see the number of vendors who are courting you already.  Incredible features, promises of unprecedented support and “Hey! We’ll even throw in a free application for your iPad!”  In the whirlwind of this new romance, you may easily miss the bigger picture.  Uncle Sam isn’t going to KEEP paying for your new toy.  Every year from now on, you very well may be stuck with HUGE annual fees.

     So before signing that contract, the most important question to ask is “How much is this going to cost me ANNUALLY?” When you consider that ARRA reimbursements only cover your INITIAL costs, those annual “subscription” costs can quickly overwhelm your budget. Does this software require that you subscribe for annual updates? If so…WHY? Many times, unless you absolutely cannot live without the new bells and whistles of a software companies’ latest version, apply the adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

     The reality of it is, that every software manufacturer comes up with something new each year in order to entice you to upgrade.  But if you don’t need a feature that allows you to synch with your iTunes collections or send a “tweet” to your Twitter account, why should you be forced to upgrade? Becoming locked into these “software assurance” contracts means that if you cannot afford the annual fees (subject to increase without notice), guess what? Your software dies, just like an expired anti-virus program. Eliminate those types of vendors and once again you have already saved thousands of future budget dollars along with the potential horror of a dead system!

     There are quite a number of software manufacturers out there, creating reliable EMR systems which meet the ARRA standards for funding, without annual subscription fees.  All it takes is a little time to research the products and a little self-restraint to resist the wolves in vendor’s clothing.  Let’s talk.

     Coming up next, Part 6 – “Care to Jumbo-Size that Support Package?”

EMR Catastrophe Avoidance - 10 Part Series - All Articles by Author Max Shylahr

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