Are Free EMRs Actually Increasing Practice Costs?

4:59 pm by | 2 Comments

EMR Increasing CostEven after the incentives announced by the Obama administration, the adoption rate of Electronic Medical Records has remained incredibly sluggish. According to the research conducted by few well-known industry specialists, there are two majors reason for these staggering results. First, due to lack of IT savvy, physicians are hesitant in adopting this new health IT solutions. Second, both upfront and ongoing costs make it difficult for physicians to embrace EMR technology. Due to the aforementioned reasons, many EMR Vendors have started offering Free EMR solutions to physicians, hoping that by doing so; they will be able to convince all the physicians to adopt this system and mint money.

EMR Adoption RateHowever, the problems associated with the low adoption rate of Electronic Medical Records are much more intense and deep than they think. From a physician’s perspective, these Free EMRs are not viable enough to be adopted. According to them, in the healthcare industry, there are thousands of practices which are operating in their own unique way. Logically speaking, it doesn’t make sense to believe that such free one-size-fit-all solutions will be able to accommodate the distinctive needs of different practices. Additionally, one must know what free really is? Free EMR means that the software is free but not the essential services like training, installation, and ongoing support. Due to this reason, physicians have started taking promotion of Free EMR as a selling gimmick for boosting sales. Such solutions have failed in the past and will most likely continue to fail.

“No EMR is 100% free if it fails. The overall cost incurred due to the failed implementation would be much more than the cost of purchasing an EMR itself. Failures can result in productivity losses, implementation costs, and training cost. Therefore, it would be nothing but wise to opt for a Certified EMR as its benefits outweighs the cost associated with it”, says a leading physician from Florida.

This growing debate and concern have increased the popularity of specialty centric Certified EMRs. These EMRs facilitate clinical documentations and ensure its secure transferability and access for specialty practice. With the help of these Certified EMRs, physicians can improve care quality, practice performance, and overall patient experience. Such user friendly Certified EMR systems have won the hearts of physicians and made their practice hassle-free and cost effective.

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Frank Quinn

By Frank Quinn

The writer is a leading Health IT analyst contributing regularly on some of the most pressing topics like Electronic Health Records, Practice Management, eRx, Patient Portal, Billing Services, Compliance and Privacy and Security. For more information, contact Frank at [email protected]
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Shakeel Akther
Shakeel Akther

A very true school of thought both for seller and the user of Free EMR. As it is already stated their of hundreds of practices going on in health care industry. Regardless any way, EMR cannot claim providing and/or fulfilling all user needs and requirement at once place. Adoption/End User acceptance, Installation, Training and implementation hazards also make life difficult for decision makers and developers. One can also face non-compliance of standards in free EMR, which also give tough time for End users. Selecting of right EMR is purely jointly job of IT, Doctors and Administration.


One "free" EHR claims to be one of the fastest growing but when you check to see which providers are getting meaningful use grants for using EHR's very very few providers using it are listed.. When implemented poorly an EHR often is nothing more then a frustrating electric pencil but when optimized it is a tool to transform the delivery of health care.


One of the biggest backers of the "free" EHR's are Pharma ads delivered right on the screen based on the patients diagnosis. It is like putting a Pharma rep right into the exam room with the patients. Although  providers claim it doesn't influence them we know that Pharma wouldn't pay for the space on the EHR if it didn't work.