Many physical therapists find that using physical therapy EMR is expensive. However, Nitin Chhoda emphasizes the many benefits of EMR systems and how the initial expenses can be justified with the long term savings down the road.
That cost extends into the office with EMR technology and it’s an expense for which many medical professionals aren’t prepared.
The cost of implementing an integrated EMR varies widely, dependent upon the type of system that is utilized.
Practice owners can choose to install an on-site system that they must service themselves, or choose a vendor-maintained package that comes with a monthly fee. Free EMR systems are available, along with those with price tags of up to $80,000. It’s a major expense for any size clinic, but can be devastating for smaller practices on a budget.
EMRs should address the basics
An EMR should speak to three primary functions in the office environment. It should allow practice owners to submit reimbursement claims online to expedite cash flow, provide complete patient documentation, and maintain a client health record that enables clinicians to deliver a superior level of care.
An EMR encompasses of host of functionalities for marketing, client communications and collections, but should address the essentials first.
Cost doesn’t always mean quality
There’s no guarantee that an $80,000 EMR system will perform any better or offer more sophisticated abilities than one that’s free. EMR vendors offer valuable services and resources, but clinicians should remain cognizant that the ultimate goal of such firms is to make money. It’s impossible for a one-size-fits-all system to accommodate the needs of every type of healthcare facility. There will be gaps and inconsistencies that will adversely affect a clinic’s revenues.
Don’t forget the hardware
Implementing an EMR requires hardware, whether it’s hosted by a vendor or housed on-site. For vendor supplied installs, the web-based functions will be maintained on the company’s servers, but clinics will need to purchase laptops or tablets to access the EMR, along with routers, cables, servers and terminals. The cost is much more extensive for practice-maintained electronic medical records housed on-site.
The high cost of tech support and maintenance
Technical support is essential to ensure the smooth running of an intricate EMR system. Clinicians should determine the full extent of the available support before committing themselves and their livelihoods to a nebulous promise. Tech assistance should be available around the clock and include experts that will come to the clinic if needed.
Learning to use the system in easy steps
Many vendors offer on-site and online training as part of their services, but the real cost to clinics will demonstrate itself through an initial loss of productivity and interruption of the normal workflow.
The costs associated with implementing an integrated EMR are varied and they’re expenses that most clinic owners don’t even consider. They look only at the initial cost of the software, without considering the implications of staff training, hardware and IT professionals.
There are many expenses that may not be immediately obvious, but they’re elements that will cost clinics dearly in revenues if they’re not settled before implementation.