Before Implementation, Full EHR Cost Needs Consideration

Costs of training, facilities, infrastructure and variables affecting these categories must be ID'd

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- From the outset of electronic health record implementation, hospitals and governments need to understand the major cost categories involved and identify the factors that may impact these costs, according to research published online Feb. 12 in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

Sarah P. Slight, Ph.D., from the University of Durham in the United Kingdom, and colleagues selected a range of organizations across different geographical areas in England that were implementing three centrally procured applications (iSOFT's Lorenzo Regional Care, Cerner's Millennium, and CSE's RiO). The authors conducted 41 semi-structured interviews with hospital staff, members of the implementation team, and those involved in the implementation at a national level.

The researchers found that there were four main overarching cost categories identified: infrastructure (hardware and software); personnel (training team); estates/facilities (space); and other (training materials). These costs were impacted by many factors, with different hospitals choosing varying amounts and types of infrastructure, diverse training approaches, and distinctive software applications to integrate with the new system.

"Improving the quality and safety of patient care through electronic health record adoption is a priority area for U.K. and U.S. governments and policy makers worldwide. With cost considered one of the most significant barriers, it is important for hospitals and governments to be clear from the outset of the major cost categories involved and the factors that may impact on these costs," the authors write. "Failure to adequately train staff or to follow key steps in implementation has preceded many of the failures in this domain, which can create new safety hazards."

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