Are no-cost EHRs worth it?

Are no-cost EHRs worth it?

  • With certain EHR Vendors, the only no-cost aspect is the source code.  The practice must still purchase training and support, which in some cases will cost more than the total cost of other systems.
  • The no-cost EHR Vendor may require that the practice let them have and use your “de-identified data.” Will your practice be comfortable with this concept?
  • Many no-cost EHRs strategies include selling your data, using pop-up advertising or other non-EHR revenue streams. Additionally, there has been discussion regarding the use of pop-up advertising in EHRs and the new HIPPA Omnibus Rule. The HIPAA requires providers to obtain patient authorizations “for all treatment and healthcare operations communications where the covered entity receives financial remuneration for making the communications for a third party whose product or service is being marketed.” It can be argued that the pop up advertising is enabling the practice to use the EHR at no-cost, which is a financial benefit. Future guidance is expected from the HHS Office of Civil Rights.
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