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Four reasons why a free EHR will cost you in the end

Free EHRs may sound too good to be true, and that’s because you usually get what you pay for. When it comes to running your practice, efficiency and quality are paramount to success. Shouldn’t you expect the same from your EHR experience?

Here are four main reasons a “free” EHR will cost extra time and money for your practice in the end:

  • You are priority #2. When you don’t pay for an EHR, that simply means that in your EHR vendor’s eyes, you are not the customer. The customer may be the advertisers who pay to be on the sidebar, or companies who pay for your patients’ healthcare data (sometimes called “data brokers”). Free EHR vendors can make up for the money they would utilize from you as a customer through advertising and selling data. Because you are not a paying customer of these EHR vendors, you are not their highest priority. This may become obvious in the user experience, the customer service response rate, or the effectiveness of the software itself.
  • The technology is created for paying customers. In a “free” EHR, the technology is built for those who paid for it, i.e. advertisers and those paying for healthcare data. In many cases, this is apparent in the user experience, as it might be easy to put data in (for the use of their paying customers), but not so easy to report on or use for practice efficiency. This may leave your practice vying for functionality or usability that will never come.
  • Paying for full functionality. Because the software in a free EHR prioritizes revenue streams from data mining and advertisements over continued practice success, any necessary function outside of the minimum afforded by the software will cost you both time and money. For instance, you may find that although it is very easy to input your data, it’s not as easy to use your data for reporting purposes. Free EHRs usually only give basic functionality, missing out on e-prescribing or billing. If you’re planning on growing your practice or your programs, it may be time to consider investing in an EHR that can grow with you.
  • It’s free for a while. As we’ve seen in the news lately, free isn’t always free. Building a software that you then give away for free simply isn’t a sustainable business model. Even with companies buying data and advertisers all over the user interface, many free EHRs eventually must charge per user. When that happens and your practice must start paying for an EHR, why not get one you love using?

When you want to partner with an EHR vendor that cares about your clients, your outcomes and your bottom line, we have some guidelines that might help. An EHR can help your practice become more efficient and profitable, but only if the vendor has your priorities in mind from day one.

If you’re interested in seeing what Valant has to offer as compared to free EHR models, we’d be happy to show you a demo!

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