Information on the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Web site walks physicians through the cost and planning of implementing electronic health records.

The site uses figures from the Michigan Center for Effective I.T. Adoption to estimate per physician total cost of ownership over five years of $48,000 for a standalone EHR in the office to $58,000 for software-as-a-service deployment via the Web.

In-office costs include $33,000 in upfront expenses and $4,000 in yearly costs. SAAS costs include $26,000 in upfront expenses and $8,000 in yearly costs. The cost estimates come from the experiences of regional health information extension centers across the nation that are funded under the HITECH Act to assist physicians and small/rural hospitals in adopting EHRs.

The site, available here, also has frequently asked questions about planning processes, information on five issues to consider when budgeting (hardware, software, implementation assistance, training, and ongoing network fees and maintenance), and a total cost of ownership and return on investment estimating tool.

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