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Study: Cost of Implementing Electronic Health Records in Primary Care

The March 2011 issue of Health Affairs reports on the cost of implementing an electronic health record system in twenty-six primary care practices in a physician network in north Texas, taking into account hardware and software costs, as well as the time and effort invested in implementation. For an average five-physician practice, implementation cost an estimated $162,000, with $85,500 in maintenance expenses during the first year.

The study estimates that the HealthTexas network implementation team and the practice implementation team needed 611 hours, on average, to prepare for and implement the electronic health record system, and that “end users”—physicians, other clinical staff, and nonclinical staff—needed 134 hours per physician, on average, to prepare for use of the record system in clinical encounters.

Source: Neil S. Fleming1, Steven D. Culler, Russell McCorkle, Edmund R. Becker and David J. Ballard. “The Financial And Nonfinancial Costs Of Implementing Electronic Health Records In Primary Care Practices.” Health Affairs, Vol. 30., No 3. March 2011. 481-489. Abstract only. http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/30/3/481.abstract

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