The Secret to One Hospital's $115k Savings in EHR Build Costs

Stay up to date on our latest blogs and content

Subscribe

By Bob Gronberg | Jan 6, 2023

2 minute read MEDITECH| EHR/EMR| Blog

After wrapping up a recent MEDITECH Expanse project in which our team used automation tools and processes, we did some analysis on the overall cost savings —we saved the healthcare organization over $115K and 1,694 hours. If your organization has not yet considered using automation in your EHR implementation you should and here’s why.

A recent post on implementation budget busters pointed out that deploying automation tools and processes as part of a large scale EHR implementation can help with project staffing shortages and project team focus. As a result, less time would need to be devoted to the manual process of creating entries in dictionaries and tables and more time could be dedicated to workflow discussion and informed decision making. While this may not seem to save time directly, it has proven from experience to be a better allocation of resources, ultimately arriving at a better end product. The repetitions and often tedious process of manually migrating data from spreadsheets and reports to the system’s foundational elements takes time, lots of time. The heavy dependence on the “human element“ also introduces opportunities for typing or keying errors. Some of which are never found until the system goes live.

Automation: Where do you begin?

In the aforementioned MEDITECH Expanse project, CereCore was asked to think creatively and help reduce this “manual keying” dependence with a much more global approach. We were able to review the required large and complex table structures and build, reuse in some cases, automation programing and advanced scripting routines as part of the project’s initial build plan. Key areas with large dictionaries included the following applications: administratives, imaging, MIS/UNV (persons/providers), orders and areas within the surgical suite.

Let’s look at one dictionary and its requirements in time and potential cost to complete manually. Know that evaluating the number of entries and the time it takes to complete one entry in the table is ALWAYS underestimated. Additionally, most of these dictionaries need to be managed/keyed by a project resource with a certain level of skill and project-software awareness. This work is not well-suited for a resource with general data entry experience. Underestimating dictionary management can blow up project budgets and project plans when not calculated correctly. Let’s take User access at the application level – MIS Person Profile (MIS/UNV) as an example from this recent project:

Dictionary

# of Entries

Manual Build Time

Time Savings (mins)

Cost ($75/hr.)

MisPerson

17,855

10 min/entry

178,550

$223,187.50

 

While using automation for these tasks does have a cost and the offset is hard to calculate for each line item, automation can (and in this project did) provide for a substantial reduction in build costs impact when spread across the entire project and the associated applications. The table below shows the numbers of hours that were saved when automation tools were used and the costs that were reduced by project area.

We saved this facility over $115K and 1,694 hours.

Application Suite

Time Savings (hrs)

Cost Savings ($)

Administrative

23

$1,586.67

Imaging

358

$24,310.00

Mis/Unv

190

$12,946.07

Orders

1,021

$69,416.67

Surgery

102

$6,964.33

Totals

1,694

$115,223.73

1.6 blog graphic chart (1)Generally, these cost savings do not translate into a less expensive project. However, the benefit to automation is your expensive facility, project, or consulting resources are “freed up” to work on the human side of the project. Instead of data entry and repetitious tasks, they can focus on developing future state workflows and processes. Organizations who invest their project resources wisely will help ensure that the EHR project is a success and adoption rate is high right out of the gate.

More resources for you

Time and resources are a precious commodity, and we’re here to help your healthcare organization through any stage of EHR implementation or optimization.

About the Author:
Bob Gronberg

Sr. Director, MEDITECH Professional Services, CereCore

Put Us to Work

Let us know how we can support your initiatives and take some of the heavy lifting from healthcare IT.

Untitled-4