Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of EHR

Posted on September 2, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

After teaching a two day EHR workshop in Dubai, I was particularly interested when I came across this whitepaper called Health Care IT: The Real (and Hidden) Costs of Ownership. I’d just talked for 2 days about the costs and benefits of EHR and so I was interested to see how this whitepaper aligned with what I’d been saying. Most of it aligned really well with what I’d taught them which was quite comforting.

However, there was one section of the whitepaper that was particularly interesting and I don’t think I covered it quite enough in my EHR workshop. This section covered what it called the “Opportunity Costs Not Accounted for in Current TCO Models.” Here’s what they think aren’t accounted for:

Standardization of Workflows
Increased efficiency, quality, fewer interruptions and distractions, better care coordination among providers.

Ability to quickly scale HCIT up or down as the organization evolves. Responsiveness to changes in reimbursement models, reporting and clinical requirements, and other regulations.

Having the right reporting, data, and workflows in place to meet new mandates (e.g., Meaningful Use Stage 1 and Stage 2, ICD-10)

Ability to build effective, low-cost connections to clinical trading partners, labs, pharmacies, and other
third parties to exchange information; and to build and connect with mobile health applications

With as much as 70 percent of health care providers dissatisfied with their EHR product, having a system that will encourage rapid adoption and provider satisfaction

I’d certainly covered some of these items tangentially, but it was interesting to frame many of these things as part of the total cost of ownership of an EHR. One thing I did hammer home in my EHR workshop was that you won’t be able to be a next generation healthcare IT company without an EHR. Many of the next innovations in healthcare are going to require an organization have an EHR. If you don’t have one, you won’t be able to benefit from these innovations. I’m not sure how you calculate that in your EHR ROI, but it’s going to be very valuable.