Written by: John Lynn
HIMSS is far gone now, but I have an enduring thought in my head that I can’t let pass. I was reading through my Twitter stream during HIMSS and one person commented (sorry I forgot who) about GE Finance having a prominent presence at HIMSS. How nice of GE to provide one stop shopping for doctors. Get an EHR and your financing all in one spot.
Ok, so I’m being a little facetious. It’s just really interesting to see how many doctors approach the financing of an EHR.
If you look at the EMR and EHR matrix of companies I’ve started to create, you can see that there’s still a large number of EMR and EHR companies that are going with the standard one time fee plus annual maintenance. However, I must admit that I’ve been seeing a lot of movement away from the enormous one time up front fee and a move towards more of a subscription based payment model.
The subscription based model just seems to make more sense for doctors since you can make the payment as you get the revenue. Plus, you can often end the subscription if the software doesn’t live up to your aspirations for an EMR. Much harder to do once you’ve sent a large one time payment to your EMR vendor.
I’m not necessarily arguing for either model. The fact is that you should do some good financial analysis to compare the subscription model over time versus the one time payment. Not a terribly hard financial analysis, but definitely worth taking the time to compare. Maybe I should put together a spreadsheet that will take care of the modeling for people.
What is certain is that the HITECH act and ARRA is dangling a bunch of money in front of doctors. However, it’s clear that doctors are going to be on their own to find the money to fund an EMR with the hope that they get some of the EHR stimulus money down the road. How they do this and how close to the edge of financial ruin they go is going to be interesting to watch.
Looks like I need to add creditors like GE Finance to the list of HITECH Act big winners.