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How to calculate the monetary losses during a technology outage in six steps.

Software uptime is important in keeping the wheels of any private behavioral health practice turning, and few would dispute that. When solutions go down, it can cause any number of problems for providers and patients alike. But it’s not always easy to monetize the impact of EHR downtime, as both material and intangible costs result.

The following is a step by step process for calculating EHR downtime costs, devised by healthcare technology research firm AC Group. Follow along with your own metrics to see how your practice might be affected.

Step Process
1 Calculate the practice’s average salary including benefits
2 Multiply the value in step 1 by 2.151
3 Divide the result in step 2 by 2080 (the average number of paid staff hours per year)
4 Consider how many hours your providers need access to the EHR system each week (for the purpose of this exercise, we’ll call it 60)
5 Calculate what the EHR downtime percentage translates to in hours per year: take the value in step 4 and plug it into “60 * 52 (weeks per year) * 1% = 31.2 hours”2
6 Multiply the value in step 3 by the value in step 5 to determine what downtime costs in dollars per year

1. Study conducted by AC Group determined that, while using downtime procedures, providers accomplish in 2.15 minutes what they would normally accomplish in 1 minute.

2. A 1% downtime used as an example. Metrics may vary depending on technology solution used in your own practice.


Practice managers must also account for indirect costs resulting from EHR downtime:

  • Provider frustration and inefficiency while observing downtime procedures
  • Increased appointment times and waiting times
  • The possibility of encountering delays when picking up medication, thereby disrupting timely delivery of care
  • Human error when handling patient records and documentation manually

The bad news about EHR downtime is that there’s no way to completely eliminate it; however, with the right technology in place, downtime can be reduced to a point where costs are more easily managed.

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“The Costs and Implications of EHR System Downtime on Physician Practices”, last modified July 11, 2011,