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Only 40% of Hospital CIO’s measure ROI on Their EMR Implementations

Posted on August 21, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Today, I stumbled upon this fascinating tweet about hospital EMR ROI. It’s from @dbtech_Ras:

Unfortunately the tweet doesn’t contain the source of their information, but the idea of EMR ROI is a very interesting and important topic. Should a hospital CIO be tracking the ROI of their EMR implementation? Are most hospital CIO’s tracking EMR ROI?

I would imagine many hospital CIOs aren’t tracking EMR ROI, because they see EMR as a necessary requirement of being a hospital today. Do they track the ROI of cleaning supplies? No. They just realize they need them and they try to manage the cost of the supplies as best they can. I think many are treating EMR in this same manner. They see EMR as a necessity regardless of ROI.

The interesting thing is that there are actually a lot of ways to measure an ROI for EMR software. None of them are perfect and they certainly leave out all the intangibles and long term benefits of EMR. For example, how do you measure an ROI on legibility of charts? That’s tough. It’s also hard to predict how having your charts electronic will enable you to be a better hospital 5-10 years from now. Not to mention if reimbursement eventually will require an EMR. Things like this will happen I’m sure.

With those disclaimers, you still can calculate an ROI. The low hanging fruit is the EHR incentive money and the future EHR penalties for not having an EHR. These add up to really large numbers for hospitals. You can also look at productivity before and after the EHR. Of course, depending on how you implement the EMR, this could actually be a cost of EHR as opposed to a benefit. Either way it should be calculated in the ROI. There are many more.

From what I’ve seen everyone sees the future of physician documentation is going to be in an EMR. Just because the move to EMR is inevitable doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still keep focused on the ROI you can receive from it.

Is your hospital tracking your EHR ROI?

Differences Between ROI, Ease of Meaningful Use Vary Between Vendors

Posted on March 21, 2012 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare editor and analyst with 25 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or

New research by KLAS seems to have uncovered important differences between the way EMR vendors perform when organizations are mounting them for Meaningful Use compliance.

According to the research firm, which interviewed 104 MU-compliant providers, both large and small hospitals successfully passed through Meaningful Use attestation.  However, the choice of vendor did seem to make a difference — one which, if KLAS is right, hospitals would be ill-advised to ignore.

KLAS concluded that hospitals using Allscripts, Healthland, HMS, McKesson had a harder time moving ahead on MU than organizations that went with MEDITECH, Cerner, CPSI and Epic. (It should be noted that while MEDITECH had the highest number of successful attesters, most of those came from a single large IDN, which makes it a bit hard to tell whether the IDN’s execution strategy or the product deserves the credit.)

One surprising bit of data, for me at least, that community hospitals were having an easier time covering their costs than larger IDNs.  KLAS notes that this varied from vendor to vendor, but didn’t name which were the higher performers.

Why the difference? My guess is that the bigger IDNs bought “Extormity” software (such as Epic and Cerner) and are having a hard time paying for it; that they have higher integration costs; and that they’re dealing with larger piles of smoking heaps of machinery (oh, excuse me, I meant very outdated mainframes and what have you).

As for problems, providers obviously had plenty to share.  Reporting and problem list functions were the most commonly reported challenges, KLAS said. In these areas, it seems, all vendors performed poorly, including the ever-popular Epic Systems.

ROI Calculators For Hospital EMRs: Worth Using?

Posted on August 24, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she’s served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

If you’re a hospital IT executive, you may just be slogging through your EMR/EHR installation at the moment and hoping to hit Meaningful Use deadlines.  Sure, you wouldn’t mind if your system generated a return on investment, but if you’re like most of your colleagues, that’s the least of your worries.

According to some folks out there, though, all you need to do is zip through a formula — pre-baked by outsiders who’ve never visited your facility — and calculate pretty accurately how much you’ll save on operating costs once your system is in place. I’m talking about sites like these, most of which actually aren’t tied to one vendor’s sales pitch:

The truth is, there seems to be a lot of careful thought behind these calculators. And though one size never fits all, my bet is that you might glean something from them.

That being said, I think there’s a reason that HIMSS seems to have officially gotten out of the ROI estimation game for EMRs/EHRs.  ROI is a political football, after all. Vendors in any enterprise software niche like to toss out huge ROI numbers and short break-even times. EMR/EHR vendors aren’t any different.

Given all of the variables involved, I’m not sure it’s worth accepting anyone’s estimate of how much you can save — or what it will really cost — when you implement your EMR/EHR. But I could be too cynical. What do you think?