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Free EMR?

I frequently see, coming across Twitter or other social media, posts or articles about ‘Free’ EMR systems or EMR at ‘No Cost.’ This presumption here is that, if your practice qualifies for financial incentives from the Federal Government, your initial investment will more than be covered. And if you can talk your local hospital into giving you one of those inexpensive web-based EMR systems (or Saas Software-as-a-Service), you might actually come out ahead.

So, what’s the catch?peanuts.jpg

Well, this assumes that your practice and employees are ready to go with an EMR system. Just install the software and you’re off to the races! For free, gratis, zippo. And then it’s like you’ve always been using EMR, right?

Not exactly. You still need to consider such things as:

  • ‘end-user’ hardware – computer and monitors
  • network hardware – servers, switches, routers
  • network software – to run the network
  • wireless hardware
  • network wiring and installation labor
  • scanners to scan old records
  • high-speed internet connection, extra bandwidth
  • staff overtime costs for training on the new EMR system
  • EMR technical support/maintenance charges for installed EMR software
  • EMR monthly recurring fees for web-based (Saas) systems

Oh, do I sound like someone who is against EMR? (At this point, that would be like being against inflation or against aging – they’re kinda inevitable). No, we have successfully launched EMR ourselves. But, you need to be realistic when you hear someone touting a free EMR system. It is sort of like inheriting a free car from your great aunt: if you don’t think there will be any other associated or on-going expenses, you’re kidding yourself.

Comments? Do you have a ‘Free’ EMR system? Is it really no-cost?

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