Trends Impacting EHR Costs
Whether for practice administrators, health records system vendors, or providers themselves, anyone in the medical community affected by EHR systems should keep an eye on cost-affecting industry trends. The reason is simple. Predicting EHR Cost impact can not only save on financial investments down the line but also help to set expectations and preparedness for the future of EHRs.
Electronic health records systems can be (and often are) costly. This is true for a variety of reasons. The expenses of implementing an EHR are driven by costs associated with system design to training and everything in between. Even so, health records systems have seen a dynamic history of prices trending from the very expensive to the very affordable. Understanding these market fluctuations requires a quick look at some of the most substantial trends in EHR design and adoption.
Many variable factors influence EHR cost. Watching the environment of the market in the health records industry can help to clarify some of the EHR pricing variations.Three significant trends to follow are open source systems, API usage, and customization in EHR systems.
- Open Source and Do-it-Yourself Implementation (Downward Trend)
Despite their initial popularity, particularly with respect to their low cost, open source EHR systems do require a higher degree of technical capacity early on, and some may also lack the functionality delivered by paid, packaged systems. These systems are among some of the most affordable EHR solutions, with little or even no upfront costs in some cases. However, financial investment is typically seen at a later stage in implementation, training, upgrades, and maintenance.
- API – Application Program Interface (Downward Trend)
Interfacing software systems through API-driven models has also seen a deceleration, partly due to the complexity of bridging numerous systems. However, a decrease in API-driven models can also serve to drive up costs in health records as a result of a decrease in interoperability and an increase in proprietary systems.
- Customization (Upward Trend)
The more adoption of EHR systems in the healthcare industry will lead to more customization. Practices continue to realize that a one-size-fits-all approach to EHRs is detrimental to workflow, revenue cycles, and usability. But with customization comes the increased costs of creating systems tailored by specialty or individual practice.
Future Cost Considerations
Anotherimportant trend to watch in the coming years is that of Meaningful Use criteria and mandates for EHRs, particularly with regards to existing federal incentive programs. Other important factors that affect the future of EHR Cost include HIPAA regulations and insurance changes on both a private and a federal level.
The costs of EHR systems also vary between stratified pricing models targeted towards different types of providers.
At ZH Healthcare, we provide medical providers with the best custom tools possible to maintain a robust and reliable electronic health records system, all while weathering the changes in this fast-paced and ever-changing landscape. Contact us today to learn more about our HITaaS (Health IT as a Service) offerings, and learn what we can do for your practice.
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