Costs for adopting an electronic health records system in an ambulatory practice could hit $120,000 per physician, with 84 percent of that cost ($101,250) being lost revenue from fewer patient encounters during the transition, according to a recent study.

However, EHRs once fully adopted could increase the number of patients seen by each physician by up to 15 percent, bringing in $151,000 in additional revenue per physician per year, the study projects.

CDW Healthcare, a reseller of information technology products and provider of related services, conducted the study. The Vernon Hills, Ill.-based company surveyed 200 physician group practices not currently using an EHR, and used pricing information from its own retail Web site, cost benchmarks from CDW customer implementations, and information from the University of Virginia, Medical Group Management Association and the American Congress of Healthcare Executives.

The quicker a practice can adapt to new processes and patient workflow, the greater the financial reward can be, according to CDW. A practice trimming a month off the adoption timeline would prevent an average of $8,440 in lost revenue while adding up to $12,660 per physician.

The study also considers hard costs per physician during the first year of EHR implementation covering hardware, software, services, telecommunications, power and cooling. A hosted system, according to the vendor, would save 44 percent.

The study is available at Registration is required.

--Joseph Goedert


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