Electronic health records systems can be (and often are) costly. This is true for a variety of reasons. The expenses of implementing an EHR are driven by costs associated with system design to training and everything in between. Even so, health records systems have seen a dynamic history of prices trending from the very expensive to the very affordable. Understanding these market fluctuations requires a quick look at some of the most substantial trends in EHR design and adoption.
Many variable factors influence EHR cost. Watching the environment of the market in the health records industry can help to clarify some of the EHR pricing variations.Three significant trends to follow are open source systems, API usage, and customization in EHR systems.
- Open Source and Do-it-Yourself Implementation (Downward Trend)
Despite their initial popularity, particularly with respect to their low cost, open source EHR systems do require a higher degree of technical capacity early on, and some may also lack the functionality delivered by paid, packaged systems. These systems are among some of the most affordable EHR solutions, with little or even no upfront costs in some cases. However, financial investment is typically seen at a later stage in implementation, training, upgrades, and maintenance.
- API – Application Program Interface (Downward Trend)
Interfacing software systems through API-driven models has also seen a deceleration, partly due to the complexity of bridging numerous systems. However, a decrease in API-driven models can also serve to drive up costs in health records as a result of adecrease in interoperability and an increase in proprietary systems.
- Customization (Upward Trend)
The more adoption of EHR systems in the healthcare industry will lead to more customization. Practices continue to realize that a one-size-fits-all approach to EHRs is detrimental to workflow, revenue cycles, and usability. But with customization comes the increased costs of creating systems tailored by specialty or individual practice.