Do You Need a Loan to Buy an EHR?

I just read with interest a paper by Price Waterhouse Coopers that estimates the 2 year cost of an EHR at $61,250 to $104,000 per provider!

If that is what it costs to get an EHR then yes, you may need a loan.  However, there are a lot of cost figures published in connection with the recent ARRA induced EHR mania that are outdated.

Much lke a 20 inch plasma TV that was $2,000 a few years ago can be purchased today for $399, the price of EHRs has come down in general.  Why?

* Technology.  As recently as 2 years ago the only certified EHRs were ones that required large multiple servers running in the physician’s office.  Much like desktops, you can now buy more server horsepower for less money.  An even bigger savings are newer EHRs which are Internet-based (or Cloud Computing or ASP).  These EHRs can provide all the functionality of a server based system at a fraction of the cost because all the users are able to share some of the resources, like servers.

* Competition.  There are now over 60 CCHIT certified EHRs.  New competition has caused a drop in prices of older products and vendors that had client-server models and corresponding up-front pricing are now offering hosted systems with monthly pricing.

These forces have created positive opportunities for the consumer.  Gone are the days that a physician must spend $50,000 or more to have a certified EHR.  And, because the EHR market has changed so radically, it is not “you get what you pay for”.  In fact, some of the highest priced systems also have some of the highest reported adoption failure rates.