No Duh. EMR Implementation Costs Too Much

Courtesy of Information Week, we get the following news: apparently, EMRs cost too much. Stop the presses!

IW magazine has shared data from a poll by KPMG in which the consulting giant surveyed  more than 220 hospital and health system administrators. Now, it’s not all bad news. Twenty-five percent of respondents said they were very comfortable with the funding they had for their EMR rollout.

On the other hand, researchers found that 48 percent of respondents were only somewhat comfortable with the budget levels their system planned for EMR deployment, and 9 percent said they weren’t comfortable at all. This despite the fact that 49 percent of the interviewees are more than halfway through their projects.

This suggests a few things, none of which are terribly heartening:

* That roughly half of hospitals and health systems didn’t budget enough or plan for the marathon effort it would take to get these giant engines running smoothly.

* That Meaningful Use incentives, while lovely and all, aren’t doing enough to defray hospital costs.

* That senior hospital and health system managers don’t have a very realistic picture of what it will to keep feeding the EMR beast for the long- term.

* That hospitals won’t even consider appreciably cheaper alternatives like Open Vista (a story in an of itself)

Mind you, it’s easy to forget that hindsight is 20/20, and that industry changes keep throwing these leaders curves. Predicting what an enterprise software installation will cost five years from now is half black art, half SWAG. So I’m not beating up on the CIOs.

I’m just surprised that anyone would be taken aback by the news that CIOs aren’t sure they can pay for all of this EMR wonderfulness.  I mean, honestly, are you?

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.


  • LOL!! Your headline says it all. Had a conversation with a McKesson customer rep. recently. CIO’s and clinical application managers are also shocked by the amount of work involved in implementation and achieving meaningful use. (Those that are “late” to adopting EMRs, anyway.)

    There is, however, quite a bit of data on what an enterprise system “should” cost in the first five years.

    Thanks for computer assisted belly laugh!!!!!

  • I find it interesting that many hospitals won’t look at OpenVista. Now I don’t know what the real costs are of choosing it versus, say EPIC, Or which one is more adaptable to the wide range of hospital and medical offices. Or what else you have to add on (like billing systems). But for the life of me I can’t seen any VIABLE reasons for not considering open source, especially at times when money is tight – which is most of the time for hospitals. The only reason I see is that some bosses think that if they don’t go with the expensive system that somehow they will look bad.

  • You have been hitting me where it hurts most today. All the posts have been right in my face. When will the industry realize that bundles are not worth the money? They pay for more than they could possibly use. Are we potentially seeing another trend back to “Best of Breed”? Is it that impossible that a smaller company could deliver results needed and required? Frustrating… well, and funny too! Thanks!

  • EHR Implementation is costly but it can really move your hospital forward. Check out this free webinar on “The Role of Leadership in the EHR Project: What Rural Leaders Need to Know”, visit

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