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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Information Technology

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What Are the Costs Associated with Implementing Health IT?

Major costs of implementation include hardware and software costs, and workforce-related costs.  If you decide to purchase an in-house system, you should include estimates for maintenance and upgrades as you budget for hardware costs.  These costs are collectively known as the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).  If you decide to contract with a vendor for an off-site system, your costs are typically spread out over the life of your contract and you may be charged a monthly or yearly fee.  This fee usually includes the costs of the EHR system, data storage, staff training, and technical support.  

There are other necessary tasks that will cost money and should be budgeted as implementation costs.  These costs include preparing your practice for the changes associated with implementing health IT and with reorganizing your clinic’s paper-based clinical record system to accommodate electronic records.  You will also need to generate enthusiasm and “buy-in” for the project through training and education.  Staff training is time-consuming and costly, and it may initially reduce productive work time while your staff is getting acclimated to the new system.  However, you office can overcome this with a well-designed implementation plan that supports you and your staff as you become more comfortable with using health IT.

Related Resources:

HRSA Rural Health IT Adoption Toolbox, Financing and Sustainability – This module includes insights on searching for and securing funding for a health IT project.  
Transformation of a Community Health Center & Health Care in the South Bronx go to exit disclaimer– This document is an Urban Health Plan, Inc.’s (UHP) application for a Nicholas E. Davies Award of Excellence - Community Health Organizations.  It contains information about the costs and benefits of EHR adoption, as well as UHP’s experience with implementation and adoption. UHP is a FQHC serving the South Bronx community in New York City.   

Developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration as a resource for health centers and other safety net and ambulatory care providers who are seeking to implement health IT.
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