You’re ready to make the switch to a different EHR vendor, you’ve requested a contract or pricing, and you're getting ready to sign on the dotted line. You believe you’re getting a great deal. You’ve asked for better pricing and decided to sign within the vendor's time frame in order to get the best possible price.
There’s just one problem: you’re not getting the pricing you need. If you’re not working with an all-inclusive vendor, there are other charges that you might see after you’ve signed the contract.
Here are 6 pricing 'gotchas' you need to be ready for:
1. Costly training. This might be one of the most overlooked needs for a successful experience past the glow of your go-live date. More often than not, more training past your go-live date is an additional cost. Workflows and needs change, however, and extra training to make your EHR work for you can add up over time.
2. Data Conversion. This could be the costliest 'gotcha.' What’s worse, both your new and old vendors may charge you.
3. Electronic Claims Services (ECS). How much is it to send a claim and request eligibility? How much is the monthly interface cost from the vendor? Is there an additional cost from the clearinghouse you choose as well? Are there monthly interface costs and per claim/transaction costs? These are usually smaller amounts but can add up quickly if you are a very productive practice.
4. Interfaces. These are connections to third parties, labs, immunization registries, ECS vendors, and the like. Interoperability rules the roost and the pressure from the state, ACOs, and insurance companies to exchange data builds on a daily basis. Unfortunately, your software vendor may charge you a development and maintenance cost for all of these. Get the costs, on paper and up front, before you need them.
5. After-hours and Emergency Support. Are there costs for needing support beyond the vendor's normal business hours? If so, how are these fees determined – by hours, minutes, or some other way? These costs can accumulate rapidly if support is not part of an all-inclusive plan.
6. Boxed training experience. Does the vendor offer training only via videos or pdf how-to lists? How much does it cost? The best EHR vendor will continue to provide personalized training from real people who know your practice, long beyond the initial go-live process -- and it won't add to your costs.
Are you interested in an EHR vendor with percentage-based pricing?
Typically, this is between 3 and 10 percent of collections. Make sure you do the math and figure out how much you might be paying. 5% may not sound like a lot, but it could easily turn into several thousand dollars more a month.
If a vendor offers revenue cycle management, ask if they send secondary claims, follow up on old claims, or resubmit. Do they send personal bills and follow up on unpaid balances? Some vendors offer RCM without these important follow-up tasks, thereby placing the burden of time and cost on your practice.
The takeaway? Be an informed buyer and learn as much as you can about EHR vendor pricing ahead of time. Your due diligence now can save you time and money in the future.