by CIO Staff

Medicare will offer discounts to doctors interested in installing automated systems

Nov 01, 20051 min
Enterprise Architecture

Moving from pen and paper to the computer doesn’t come cheap in the medical world. According to a 2003 study by First Consulting Group, implementing computerized physician order-entry (CPOE) at a single, 500-bed hospital costs an estimated onetime $7.9 million, with ongoing annual costs of $1.35 million. And that estimate assumes that the hospital already has high-capacity network capabilities. John Glaser, CIO at Partners HealthCare, adds that CPOE doesn’t necessarily lead to revenue gains so hospitals stretched for cash may not be able to justify the expense.

On a national level, the Department of Health and Human Services is getting ready to offer low-priced software for electronic medical records (EMRs) to doctors treating Medicare patients in smaller offices. Officials at the Center for Medicare Services say medical practices that install the VistA-Office software, which was developed by the Department of Veteran Affairs, will spend $10,000 to $12,000 on implementation, while the purchase and installation of other EMR systems could cost as much as $100,000 for a five-physician private practice. The VistA software—which has been used in VA hospitals and clinics for two decades—should ease the way for adoption of CPOE systems in hospital and office settings. -S.P.