Saturday, September 27, 2008

EMR Flame-Out

Michelle Griever is a family physician in Toronto, Ontario who supports a large family health team. They received funding 2 1/2 years ago from the government to implement an EMR. She's blogged about her journey.

After 2 1/2 years only 2/3rd of the physicians have adopted the system. Maintenance does not seem to be sustainable and they are still deciding on whether to keep control of the servers in-house or have them housed off-site. In short, her practice is hitting a road block that completely derail using EMR for anything more than billing, booking and lab work.

The story underscores an important point. The cost of maintenance, replacement and network design. When our office created the network, we gave little thought to the cost of network architecture and maintenance. The reality is that it (and bandwidth) can make a sizable portion of the total IT budget. The typical cost of an 'entire' system (back bone, servers, bandwidth and workstations) can easily reach $10,000-15,000 per work station for set-up. Clinicians often focus on the utility and cost of EMR without seeing the 'hidden' costs.

We are now 5 years into implementation and still not paperless. But, our system is stable, sustainable and has a calculable return on investment (of about 1 year).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As one who has toiled many a year in network design, administration, and support, I shuddered when I read this post. One would think the vendors who sell these systems would provide financial information on the care and feeding of your new eHIM system - child support as it were. Nah, guess they just want to take the money and walk away. That's just plain irresponsible - on both the vendors' side and the decisionmakers' side at the medical facility