Selecting EMR Software for Your Practice

Many doctors ask: Why is EMR so expensive? This question as it appears can seem simple in nature. While exploring this topic, you can find so many variations in the EMR products’ features and functions. In most cases, a large or majority of the total cost of an EMR is in the training and implementation services, not in the software.

But in many cases products will include more features than one needs or the manufacturer of the product is generally focused on larger sized groups making it more expensive for smaller ones. Additionally, as a practice, the question of technical proficiencies needs to be addressed. If a product is more technically advanced than the user, the user will not receive the full usage of the application. If the product is not being used to its full functionality, nobody wins. If this happens, the practice is not satisfied, and the vendor now has an unsatisfied end user. This is why matching up the practice with the right EMR is so critical. The opposite effect can be just as frustrating.

Cost is a fact in the investment of an EMR. An entry level EMR can cost as little as $3,000, and advanced level EMRs can cost over $100,000, even for a solo physician practice. The word “expense” should be replaced with the word “investment”. Once a practice has converted to the EMR, they can now look back and understand the difference in those two, very different words. When the EMR is running at full functionality, the practice becomes very efficient. No more hunting for paper charts. A single “click” of the mouse, and the patient’s entire record is in the hands of the appropriate user. Multiple users can access the same record simultaneously as well; allowing for greater productivity. The investment now begins to pay dividends.

Which is better? An integrated EMR system or a modular EMR? Having a portion of the practice automated can be a benefit, just as it can be a challenge to overcome. There are many EMR vendors that have a Practice Management application built into their system. Many of these products can be a total replacement of existing applications, usually a older medical billing software. Be advised that not all EMR vendors have the capability to integrate with an existing software product. This is all very important to identify prior to committing to an EMR vendor. Running separate systems simultaneously can bring much unneeded frustration if not appropriately integrated in the beginning as you will need to deal with two different companies for technical support.

The number of modules that can be integrated can vary significantly from vendor to vendor. Consideration of the charge for an HL7 (as explained earlier in this document) interface should also be taken into account. The interface between your existing system and your new EMR can often cost as much as $5000 making it often more financially viable to purchase an integrated system from the beginning.

These are just some of the many things to consider when selecting an EMR solution for your office. For more information on Electronic Medical Record software solutions please visit

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