There are probably as many different ways of pricing EHR software as there are software companies courting your business. Some basic structures are fairly uniform across the board, but there are many variables to consider when trying to compare "apples to apples" as you wade through the selection process.
Costs can be broken down into two categories: initial or implementation; and maintenance or recurring. These represent your up-front costs and your annual budgeting costs, respectively. Each category can be subdivided into software, hardware, and services.
Hardware will vary based on the EHR you choose. For example, application service provider (ASP) EHRs will typically have lower hardware requirements than a traditional client-server based EHR. This is because an ASP provider maintains the hardware at the vendor end. Client-server EHRs require designated file server computers, workstations, etc. Of course, the size of the practice affects the hardware requirements. Keep in mind that hardware costs include all of the following:
Software costs include the EHR itself but also contain add-on or support applications that are needed (such as interfaces to a practice management or lab system). Support applications may also include faxing, scanning, or word processing applications.
Service costs include support, training, and any consultants.
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