Top must-haves in your EMR budget and ways to finance them

“I learned you can’t cut corners. It leads to disaster.”  Ron Payne, CEO, a Texas-based provider of post-acute care.

If you’re like many, chances are you are either 1) building a roadmap for EMR or 2) satisfied with pilot results and wondering how to accelerate rollout in 2011. In both scenarios, the budgeting process for EMR is complex because it requires a mix of software, hardware and professional services to minimize disruption of your business and maximize return on your investment.  The “always-on” workforce is high-maintenance and you must plan for special resources to support them.  A short list of must-haves in an EMR budget include:

  • Project management
  • Process evaluation and optimization
  • Clinical experts to apply data to improve outcomes
  • Hardware, software, networks, wireless
  • Interfaces and integrations
  • Implementation, training
  • Maintenance, support
  • Security, disaster recovery, business continuity
  • Servers, storage, backup
  • Executive decision making tools
  • Communication

We’re seeing several creative ways to finance EMR programs.   

  1. Ask your vendors about payment plans and what can be paid for upfront vs. what can be broken into monthly payments?  
  2. How far can you push the limit of converting capital to fixed and predictable, yet scalable operating expenses?
  3. What components are in place related to hardware, software, and services? Are you really maximizing what you can get out of your current clinical system? Could new training drive higher return on assets and efficiencies?
  4. Are state incentives or grants available?

The Center for Health IT recommends “getting detailed information about products and services included in the offer/contract. It may seem like splitting hairs, but it is useful to have outlined in writing every detail that is included.” Also, ask about what’s not included as there is a wide range of variance.

This white paper offers more insight into building, budgeting, and financing your EMR program: 

White paper – The Countdown to EHR and Outcome-Based Care