Cost savings of open-source EHR systems worth it?

August 10, 2012
Rosemarie Nelson

Are you thinking of using an open-source electronic health record system? Learn why it might not be the best solution.

Q: I've read a little about open- source electronic health record (EHR) systems, and the idea seems intriguing due to the possibility of substantial cost savings. In general, how many other physicians are using these types of EHR systems, and are they worth investigating?

A: Open-source systems have a certain appeal because of the perception that they are low-cost or no-cost. Remember, however, the wisdom in the old saying that you get what you pay for. Implementation and training services frequently are minimal or non-existent with open-source systems, and those are critical elements for successfully adopting an EHR.

Not many physicians use open- source system solutions, so if you decide to include one in your search for an EHR, perform your due diligence and visit a practice reference site.

Nelson is with MGMA Healthcare Consulting Group, Jamestown, New York, and a Medical Economics editorial consultant.