Considerable Costs Associated With Switching EHR

Costs include time needed for research and testing, maintenance and other fees, hardware updates

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TUESDAY, June 19, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Switching electronic health record (EHR) systems can result in increased efficiency and productivity gains, but there are significant costs associated with the switch, according to an article published in Medical Economics.

Noting that 62 percent of respondents to the Medical Economics 2017 EHR Report had already switched systems at some point in their careers, the article addresses the true cost of switching. Although the payoffs for switching can be positive, with gains from increased efficiencies and productivity, the costs can also be significant and include new software and hardware.

According to the article, the costs start before implementation of the system, initially restricted to physicians' time as they research different EHRs, then involving time from other staff who need to review and test EHRs. EHR contracts include many fees, such as maintenance fees, software subscription fees, and support fees, which can increase each year. Upgrades to software can result in the need for hardware and technology upgrades, including replacing older printers, monitors, and tablets, as well as older servers and networking equipment. In addition, there may be costs of integrating the new EHR with other systems, costs associated with hiring consultants and other outside expertise, data transfer costs, and lost productivity.

"Like any project, switching EHRs can result in unanticipated costs no matter how well a practice thought through an implementation plan," according to the article.

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