March 21, 2024

Understanding the Pricing Behind EMRs

Understanding the Pricing Behind EMRs

It is becoming increasingly rare for behavioral health practices to run their practice without an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system. Operating a treatment center on paper is entirely possible, but the enhanced workflows associated with modern software are increasingly difficult to ignore. 

EMRs are essential for managing workflows, including:

  • Clinical documentation
  • Client intake
  • Referral management
  • Billing
  • And more

But not all EMRs are created equal. 

Finding a solution that meets all your needs without breaking the bank can feel overwhelming. The success of your practice and maintaining your accreditation may hinge on having the right EMR — at the right price.

How much does an EMR cost?

It's important to understand different EMR pricing structures and additional fees you might encounter while shopping for new software. In this article, we’ll be discussing how EMRs are priced and why we believe our healthcare tool is uniquely qualified to power your facility and drive better outcomes.

Table of Contents

How Much Does an EMR Cost?

This can be a complicated question. The cost of an EMR can depend on a variety of factors, like:

  • Number of staff
  • Tyle of staff
  • Census 
  • Custom features
  • Integrations
  • Customer service

Based on these factors, EMR costs can range from $300 to several thousand dollars per month (or more). In addition to monthly costs, a behavioral health practice will also typically pay implementation fees and other upfront and ongoing costs, which may include:

You don’t want to try and get by with a cheap system, but you also don’t want to overpay

No matter how you look at it, a quality EMR is a sizable investmentbut an investment that  can streamline your facility's workflow.

An EMR is a mission-critical system that acts as the brain of your practice. And when it’s not working correctly, you risk problems like …

  • Denied claims
  • Lost referrals
  • Compliance and regulatory issues

An EMR is also an investment in your staff. If the system is too difficult to use, making it harder for your staff to do their job, you may have a hard time keeping them around. Also, the ability to quickly train new staff on the system should be a consideration.

Ritten is behavioral health EMR with the resources you need at a reasonable price. 

Ritten provides EMR tools for:

  • Documentation
  • Scheduling
  • Groups
  • Compliance
  • And more

Is There a Free EMR?

Typically the only “free” system will be a self-created process that is largely manual and requires significant time to maintain. 

Budget EMRs may boast low pricing, but they often charge for added features, implementation, or support.

You’ve heard the saying, “You get what you pay for.” 

The truth of this statement holds when it comes to budget EMRs. What’s advertised as ‘low cost’ may, in the end, cost more — in both time and money. 

3 Typical Pricing Structures for EMRs

Pay Per User

This is a typical model for outpatient providers and case management services..

Cost is figured based on the number of clinicians in the practice and is usually implemented in a monthly fee. 

However, sometimes this charge may be combined with an annual or one-time fee, and extra charges for implementation and training may be exacted.

Pay Per Chart

The pay-per-chart model is often used for higher level of care facilities, IOP and above, and comes with benefits for both the facility and the EMR company.

It’s beneficial for the behavioral health facility because it’s more predictable and is more directly tied to revenue. If the census is low, then payment will also be low.

For the software company, this model allows a shared knowledge base for the entire program, which means that those who need to see client records can access them, including:

  • Billing partners
  • Compliance consultants
  • Lab companies; and
  • Others

Pay Per Visit

This pricing structure is also common in outpatient services and is typically tied to revenue. EMR costs are assessed per visit or service and may be advantageous to small or midsize practices.

Be Aware of These Extra Costs When Choosing an EMR

Like many types of services, EMRs may come with additional and hidden fees. Being aware of these fees upfront can help you find the best EMR system for your budget.

2 Unavoidable Costs

No matter what EMR system you choose, you’ll likely need to pay both implementation and claim fees.

#1: Implementation Costs

Most EMR systems will have an implementation fee, a cost paid upfront to get the system set up and running. 

Implementation fees typically cover the following services:

  • Support
      
    •  Trainers
      •  Project managers
      •  Consultants
      •  Developers
  • Data migration
       •  
    Data migration 
       •  
    Building active clients  
  • Training, including pre-implementation and ongoing support
  • Ongoing costs
       •  Subscription fees      
       •  Data storage
       •  Specific form access
       •  Additional features

An EMR system without an implementation fee should be concerning because it may be a sign that the EMR company may not be able to set up the system in accordance with your requirements and needs. It also may signify that you will get minimal assistance in the configuration of your environment.

On the other hand, an EMR company with exorbitant implementation costs may be prohibitively expensive. 

Look for one that’s fairly priced and backed by a team well-equipped to provide the services you require to get your team moving forward.

Ritten’s EMR is intuitive, customizable, and easily integrated with other software. While striving to be fairly priced, Ritten provides a dedicated onboarding team and account managers to help behavioral health facilities implement a new EMR in their facility or migrate from antiquated EMR systems.

#2: Claim Fee

A claim fee is another mandatory fee that practices and facilities will pay. A claim fee is usually a flat fee based on the number of claims submitted monthly

Integration Costs

If you want to integrate other services with your EMR system, those will likely come at an extra expense.

Telemedicine Costs

Telemedicine integration allows users to access telecommunications technology that helps caregivers and clients to connect remotely.

When this platform is integrated into an EMR system, everyone can … 

  • Review EMRs
  • Evaluate
  • Diagnose; and
  • Provide treatment plans

… via video and audio mechanisms.

E-Prescribing Integrations

E-prescribing is a huge benefit for both the client and the provider, allowing prescriptions to be sent through a secure and closed network. This is a service that saves time and effort for both parties. 

This may be a service that needs to be integrated into the EMR system, requiring an additional charge. 

Data Messaging Costs

Texting communications can also be extremely helpful to both the client and the provider. However, if the EMR system you choose allows for texting communications with clients, fees may apply.

Lab Integrations

Both lab managers and providers may find it valuable to use EMR lab integrations because of the following reasons:

  • Reduces lab result errors
  • Allow facilities to access their results quickly
  • Decreases data entry errors

Providers should know that the benefits of lab integration may mean paying a higher cost.

Hidden Fees

There’s nothing more maddening than to be charged a fee for something that was carefully buried in the fine print. 

No one wants to get caught paying hidden fees, so take the time to read the fine print and do your due diligence to be aware of these fees before choosing an EMR system.

Early Termination Fees

Many EMR systems have contracts, but when researching EMR systems, make sure the required contract is a reasonable one — one to three years. But if an EMR system requires extreme notice (i.e, 12 months) to cancel your contract without a fee, it may be hard to leave it if doesn't fit your needs.

It’s important to read the contract fully and make sure you understand all of the terms and any penalties.

Record Return Fees

If records need to be returned to a client, you, as the provider, may be responsible for fees required by the EMR company.

EMR system fees are varied, and some of them can be hidden. Before choosing a system, make sure you have a clear picture of what is included in monthly costs and what additional/hidden fees may be required.

Consider these additional tips when assessing your needs and costs of an EMR system:

  • Know your needs in order to get all the features you require for your practice. Consider those needs and “extra” costs when determining the final price tag.
  • Take the time to research various systems and compare prices and services.
  • Look for hidden fees, which may include those listed above and others, like fees for data migration and training.

Ritten: An EMR Software Worth Your Investment

We believe the future of behavioral health is data-driven, and unlocking that data can produce better outcomes.

We also believe EMRs should be a tool and not a burden, and we are committed to building an EMR that provides time-saving workflows and an intuitive interface to enhance your treatment, not burden it.

Ritten’s EMR software helps manage many of the processes in behavior health practices, including:

  • Referrals
  • Communication with families and treatment teams
  • Billing
  • Tracking client progress
  • Monitoring outcomes
  • Documentation
  • Scheduling
  • Compliance
  • Medication management
  • And more

We strive to deliver an EMR that is fairly priced and highly functional with the ability to better integrate with other software.

if setting up the software and learning how to use it makes you leery, you can rest assured that our onboarding team will do the heavy lifting involved with implementing a new EMR in your facility or migrating from an old system. 

Our dedicated engineers are on call 24 hours a day to ensure any problems are resolved quickly.

To see if Ritten is a good fit for your practice, book a demo today.

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