Hospital EMR

Should I go with a Hospital EMR? Many hospitals are offering their physicians "85%" off of electronic medical records software to go with the hospital emr.

I see this - at best - as a pretty good deal for the hospital, and a pretty bad deal for the physician.

Here's my take:

  • The hospital gets the huge rewards. You lose your independence to select which hospital you can tie into for electronic lab results, radiology reports, etc. Thus you are practically forced to send that hospital all of your business (patients, lab work, radiology, etc) – which amounts to huge numbers year after year. What do you get?

  • You get next to nothing in comparison - You get up to 85% of a puny amount. The hospital is funding or "gifting" you up to 85% of the lowest cost of the EHR implementation process - the software. Again, software is the lowest cost component by far when it comes to EHR implementation.

  • The training the hospital will provide is a small fraction of what you will require. You may get 2 or 3 days of training and the trainer is typically a hospital employee - not an experienced EHR trainer.

  • The hospital does not provide the necessary work flow consulting for your practice. Before the training, you need expert advice on how arrange the new workflow for your office and expert advice on the necessary clinical content customization of the EHR software so it fits the individual needs of each provider in your practice – so that the system conforms to your need instead of you having to conform to the software.

  • The only interface provided is the one to the hospital - you are left footing the bill for any other interface. Interfaces are QUITE costly.

  • A "chunk" of training (for example - 40 hours) is provided by hospital staff. Typically, if you need more training, you are charged for it. You are usually unable to purchase 1-2 hours at a time - you must purchase another "chunk". For example, if you need additional training you may have to purchase a minimum of 40 hours at a rate of $65/hour - even if you don't need that many hours.

  • There is usually an "implementation fee" of several thousands of dollars that is added on to your software fee.

  • There is typically a yearly maintenance fee of around $1000. In the contracts, there is typically a clause to let you know this fee can be increased by a certain amount each year.

  • If a practice is not "triaging" their issues correctly, they can be charged hourly fees for this.

  • The practice has no IT support whatsoever.

  • If the practice, the hospital, or the vendor chooses to terminate the agreement, you may have to purchase the software license.

    We try to cover some of these aspects in our free EMR Newsletter.

    We cover the Pros and Cons of a Hospital EMR in our Electronic Medical Records Ebook.

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