Total EHR Adoption Cost: $120,000 Per Physician

December 15, 2010

Adopting an electronic health record system in a medical practice can cost $120,000 per physician, a new study found. Costs include equipment, software, services, training time and potential lost revenue as practices become familiar with using the new systems.

Adopting an electronic health record system (EHR) can cost $120,000 per physician, according to a study of 200 medical practices nationwide by IT services firm CDW Heathcare. The costs include equipment, software, services, training time and potential lost revenue as practices become familiar with using the new systems.

While the study found that physicians' top financial concern with EHR adoption was hardware and software costs, those expenses make up just 12% of total costs in the first year. Indeed, lost revenue was found to be a far larger drain on physician practices.

Physicians can expect to see patient encounters drop in the first year of adoption by an average of 10%, resulting in lost revenue of about $100,000 on average, according to the study. Once practices get used to their EHR systems, and workflow improves, practices averaged a 15% increase in the number of patient encounters, resulting as much as $151,000 in additional revenue, according to CDW. The firm noted that some studies have estimated the increase in patient encounters to be as high as 30%.

“The most important factor in reducing the cost of EHR implementation is accelerating through the workflow changes," said Bob Rossi, vice president of CDW Healthcare, based in Vernon Hills, Ill. "The quicker practices can reach full adoption, the quicker they will reach the positive side of the cost curve."

To learn more about the CDW study, click here.