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Report: Evaluating the True Value of Acute Care EMR Systems

August 27, 2010
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Besides the retail price of an EMR, unexpected costs, physician usability, missed delivery dates, response time, stability and workflow interruptions all play a role in the true cost of owning an EMR system, according to a new report from Orem, Utah-based consulting firm KLAS. Buyers may find that they can afford to buy a particular solution, but they can't afford to own it or the solution won't facilitate the adoption they will need.

KLAS examines the recent buying experiences of 146 healthcare organizations and looks beyond the actual quoted price of an EMR in a contract to the realized cost of owning a system. Because the process has matured, there are fewer pioneers and buyers are savvier, it is less likely today that an EMR project will go way beyond budget. Meditech (Westwood, Mass.) is reported to be most consistently within or under budget delivering their solution, with Verona, Wis.-based Epic a close second. Cerner (Kansas City), Eclipsys (Atlanta), McKesson (San Francisco) (mainly Horizon clients but with several Paragon included), and Siemens are tightly grouped in the second tier. Being within budget is significant but only one primary measurement in ownership.

Monetary ties to meaningful use and HI-TECH requirements put a focus on the proactive development of physician friendly solutions and CPOE that leave some providers hesitant about the ease of use of CPOE options available. Getting past general clinical use to deep CPOE adoption typically requires significant additional staffing, vendor and consultant costs. Purchasers question the overall expense of and value a particular EMR solution could bring to their organization.

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