1. It’s Cheap
Common sense tells us that this is a ridiculous statement, but at what level do we start to panic over costs going from reasonable to extreme? Several large healthcare systems, including Duke University and Partners in Boston, have reported spending over $700 million on their installs. Our government provides planning statistics that suggest a cost of $15,000 to $70,000 per physician. Accenture recently reported that $22.3 billion will be spent on installs by the end of 2015. The reality is, an Epic implementation is very expensive, averaging about $100 million per 500 bed facility. That said, reasonable cost saving measures can be implemented during installation that will have a significant impact on the bottom line. Keep reading – you‘ll find some clues.
2. Vendors Will Handle System Integration
Of all the cost saving measures I’ve witnessed through the years, almost nothing compares to the benefits gained by controlling the entire Epic integration process from beginning to end during an implementation. Very often, hospital leadership falls into the trap of thinking that all they need is Epic consultants (on one end) and ancillary system vendors (on the other). Together, in theory, this should be enough to build the necessary interfaces and help us meet meaningful use Stage 2, 3, etc. objectives.
In reality, by relying on vendors for integration, the hospital leadership creates an almost helpless situation where the project becomes reliant on application vendors for critical integration timelines and costs. More than ever this particular component of an Epic implementation requires specialty advisory help from a partner that can provide strategy, interface development, and vendor coordination. Securing this help has been proven to save up to 50% of entire project costs by eliminating unnecessary delays in integrated testing efforts and beyond.
3. You Can Use Your Own People
Epic is a tremendous software company with many great consulting processes, but most in the business, including Epic, acknowledge that the most successful implementations utilize Epic consultants, hospital staff, AND third party specialty consulting groups. KLAS and other organizations have reported on this often over the last few years and have shown that hospitals achieving HIMSS Stage 7 do so almost exclusively with significant input from third party consulting firms.
Increasingly, a good mix of consulting practices have arisen offering boutique services around elements of Epic implementation. These include highly specialized mid-revenue cycle consulting centered around strategy and design of charge capture, or Epic interoperability as mentioned above. Utilizing such a practice at the right time could be immensely beneficial to the healthcare organization. Additionally, this practice makes use of smaller firms with more experienced personnel and lower overhead, resulting in offering a better product.