CPA Comment on EMR Pricing

Posted on October 10, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

In response to my previous post about possibly creating an EMR pricing comparison website, I got a really interesting set of comments from a CPA who’s been assisting their clients in their EMR selection process. You might laugh at the idea of a CPA participating in the EMR selection process. Interestingly, the CPA that I use has also been asked by their clients about the EMR stimulus money and so they were grateful they could ask me some questions.

This aside, I found this person’s comments interesting. I think they also illustrate some of the challenges in EMR pricing and some of the thirst for EMR pricing also. I removed some identifying information and some other comments about EMR and HIPAA. Otherwise, the comments are in tact.

I have been pondering trying to do some sort of price comparison myself, and you’re right, they all differ so it’s tough to just do one basic comparison chart. I’ve seen already how some have things all bundled (ie.Athena, and others do it in separate modules can add on – ie. Greenway)

I have featured remote demo’s for clients to listen/view through our firm so they can avoid the vendor pressure… I thought I would try to get info on others for comparison purposes, but in keeping with the theme… it is just not that easy.

There are a few challenging items for comparison purposes, one of them being support and related costs.
The support/training is many times where the wheels fall off the well-intentioned EMR wagons.
You just don’t seem to get an answer or know the true support/training costs until you have already tied the knot with your new EMR system. If you could get more comparative info on that aspect, that would be very helpful – or better yet, come up with an EMR Pre-Nup.

Another toughy is the interfacing costs
From what I hear a [EMR Vendor] system may charge $30k to interface with another EMR vendor.
The vendors call that “not playing nicely”.
So tack on another layer of subjective complexity to your pricing project.

And yet another cost factor I’ve noticed is what EMR system an affiliated hospital is getting preferred pricing on. There is a hospital by us in an arrangement with [EMR Vendor], and of course advising the outside practice physicians to use the same. I am not to thrilled with this idea, I think there are better products that are not spread so thin in so many markets.

I mention the patient portal separately below as some of my clients don’t seem quite ready for that yet.
They view it as another task and feel could attack it once get the EMR running smoothly.
I know they need it for MU [Stage 1 doesn’t require this, but future stages probably will], but they seem to want that a little later than sooner.

In any case, I think some possible approaches for a comparative pricing schematic would be to have different scenarios:
a) 1-5 Docs & Midlevel providers /Web Hosted/ EMR only/ PM Interface/ No Patient Portal
b) 1-5 Docs & Midlevel providers /Web Hosted/ EMR only/ PM Interface/ With Patient Portal
c) 1-5 Docs & Midlevel providers /Web Hosted/ EMR & PM Bundled/ No Patient Portal
d) 1-5 Docs & Midlevel providers /Web Hosted/ EMR & PM Bundled/ With Patient Portal
e) 1-5 Docs & Midlevel providers /Web Hosted/ EMR & PM Bundled/ With Revenue Cycle Mgt/ With Patient Portal