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How Much Does Epic EMR Cost?

Last Updated on May 9, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Epic Systems Corporation has emerged as the most widely adopted electronic medical records (EMR) software platform used by major hospitals and health systems to digitize patient data and manage clinical and operational workflows.

But given the enterprise scale of Epic’s solutions and extensive capabilities, precisely what price can healthcare providers expect to invest when implementing and supporting these systems long-term?

This guide examines the discrete cost components of Epic EMR systems, implementation best practices, ongoing ownership costs, training considerations, data security needs, projected ROI, and comparisons with competitors to provide complete insights into the short and long-term financial implications providers take on with this clinical information technology transformation.

How Much Does Epic EMR Cost?

The total cost of ownership to adopt an organization-wide Epic EMR system can range from $10 million for smaller community hospitals up to over $100 million for large multi-facility health networks, depending on the number of users, applications selected, data migration complexity, customization needs, and other factors.

Major costs accumulate from software licensing, infrastructure upgrades, implementation services, ongoing maintenance and support, compliance requirements, and user training. Thoroughly understanding the cost drivers and planning accordingly allows healthcare IT leadership to strategically budget and maximize the value from their Epic EMR investment over a 5+ year timeline.

For initial Epic EMR platform implementation capital expenditures, hospitals typically invest:

  • Small community hospitals under 200 beds: $10 million – $30 million
  • Mid-size regional hospitals between 200 – 500 beds: $30 million – $50 million
  • Large multi-facility health systems over 500 beds: $50 million – $100+ million

As expected, costs generally correlate with the overall size of the healthcare system and the intended breadth of EMR capabilities chosen.

Here are some additional details on Epic EMR per user pricing and self-hosted options:

Per User Pricing

  • physician/practitioner license: $5,000 – $7,000 per user
  • clinical license (nurses, etc.): $3,000 – $5,000 per user
  • Read-only license: $500 – $1,000 per user
  • Revenue cycle license: $3,000 – $5,000 per user

For qualified organizations, Epic charges the following for self-hosted EMR products:

  • One-time license fee of $500 to $1,000 per bed
  • Annual support fee equal to 20% of license cost
  • Additional interface and module fees as applicable

Overview of Epic EMR Capabilities

At a high level, Epic EMR software centrally digitizes scattered patient medical records into an integrated digital profile. This consolidated clinical data enables improved care coordination, reduced errors, and streamlined patient management workflows. Some core Epic modules and capabilities include:

  • Patient scheduling and registration systems
  • Clinical documentation tools
  • Computerized physician order entry
  • Electronic medication prescription routing
  • Pharmacy inventory and disbursement tracking
  • Integrated laboratory and radiology results viewing
  • Mobile access for physicians across facilities
  • Inventory and supply chain optimization
  • Operating room management
  • Billing automation and claims processing
  • Data analytics and reporting for quality improvement

Factors That Influence Epic EMR System Costs

Several elements contribute to the substantial total price of implementing and maintaining a comprehensive Epic EMR platform over time, including:

  • Number of total users and required software licenses
  • Breadth of Epic modules, applications, and functionality needs
  • Complexity of integrating with existing IT systems and workflows
  • Infrastructure improvements required for servers, network and computing power
  • Scope of historical patient data migration effort from legacy EMR solutions
  • Ongoing support expenses, regular software upgrades, added licenses and feature adoption
  • Stringent compliance, regulation and cybersecurity expenses
  • Training costs associated with system rollout and ongoing user education

You might also like our articles about the cost of Cisco Phone Systems, Clari, or Ansys.

Carefully evaluating these cost factors throughout the life of the EMR allows health systems to budget appropriately across the 5-7-year adoption timeframe.

Implementation Cost Components

The major components that comprise typical all-in implementation costs include:

  • Software licensing fees for user access and applications – $2 million up to $10+ million
  • Infrastructure upgrades for servers, storage, and networking – $2 million to $10+ million
  • Professional implementation services from Epic consultants – $5 million to $25+ million
  • Historical patient data migration efforts – $1 million to $5+ million
  • End user training initiatives – $2 million to $10+ million
  • Contingency buffer of 10-20% of the total budget to cover overages

Given the 2-3+ year effort and coordination required, most organizations enlist Epic’s direct implementation services to ease the transition and control costs by tapping into accumulated industry project experience.

Recurring Costs of Epic EMR Ownership

Once live, typical recurring software ownership costs for matters like system maintenance, license management, IT support salaries, upgrades and user training include:

  • Software updates, support services, and version upgrades – $500,000 to $2 million annually
  • Infrastructure upkeep for databases, interfaces and hardware – $250,000 to $1 million annually
  • Additional software licenses and new feature adoption – $100,000 to $500,000 annually
  • Training new employees and refreshing users – $100,000 to $200,000 annually
  • In-house IT staff salaries to support operations – $150,000 to $500,000 annually

Industry benchmarks place ongoing annual Epic EMR expenses around 3-5% of the initial capital expenditures. Proactive cost management is advised.

Training and Adoption Cost Considerations

To drive user adoption across the care team when rolling out the new Epic systems, organizations typically budget for dedicated training staff to lead:

  • Superuser bootcamps to deeply train power champions – Approximately $300 per dedicated user
  • Basic end-user software training – Roughly $100 per intended staff member
  • Ongoing support and refreshers for users – Around $50 per user per month
  • Temporary productivity declines during transition ranging 5-15% depending on staff technical proficiency

Proper change management and training investment is key to smoothing the software launch and avoiding expensive care delays or revenue impacts.

The Value of Integration and Customization

Patient on Epic EMRWhile building and maintaining customized system interfaces and extending into specialized Epic modules can cost upwards of $500,000+ in incremental development efforts, benefits yielding an ROI over time often include:

  • Increased data accuracy and clinical efficiency through deep EMR system interoperability
  • Highly tailored workflows better matching the organization’s needs
  • Error reductions through workflow automation and alerting integrated into provider decisions
  • Advanced analytics and reporting capabilities based on comprehensive data integration

The key is thoughtfully prioritizing incremental enhancements that solve pain points clinicians identify after early software experience, rather than overcustomizing upfront before usage proves value. Incremental improvement ultimately enhances patient care and productivity that boosts Epic EMR ROI.

Compliance and Security

Additional but significant data security and healthcare compliance costs to factor into Epic EMR budgeting include:

  • HIPAA risk assessments, audits and remediation – $50,000 to $150,000+
  • Policy and procedure updates organization-wide – $25,000 to $100,000
  • Ongoing software security and compliance training for users – $20,000 to $75,000+
  • Potential patient identity management system implementation – $50,000+

Failing to proactively invest in compliance and cybersecurity measures leaves providers open to fines exceeding $1 million, making adequate focus in these areas essential.

Long Term Return on EMR Investment

While exact ROIs depend heavily on the implementation, research indicates healthcare providers can reasonably expect to achieve measurable benefits such as:

  • 10-20% reductions in certain operational expenses through optimized workflows
  • 45% fewer patient medication and prescription errors
  • 25-35% improvements in specific patient outcome metrics and quality scores
  • 50% faster medical billing processes and reduced denial rates
  • Care quality, patient satisfaction and engagement boosts

Most healthcare systems yield markedly positive ROIs from their Epic EMR system investment within 3-5+ years if adoption moves beyond basic documentation to transform care delivery through analytics insights, automation, and data-driven improvements. Realistic outcome setting and buy-in helps justify the sizable upfront costs.

Final Words

Budgeting around $100 million when planning for a complete enterprise-wide Epic EMR implementation is reasonable for larger multi-hospital health systems seeking to modernize patient records management and clinical decision making.

But making the investment work requires extensive planning around key capabilities, staged rollouts, clinical user engagement, sustained training, and leadership buy-in. With rigorous focus on managing costs, Epic EMR delivers immense benefits over a 5-7 year timeline in terms of care coordination, patient satisfaction, billing efficiency, and quality of treatment as optimization continues.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Epic EHR cost?

For major multi-facility hospital networks, the average total cost to implement and optimize Epic’s enterprise EHR solution typically ranges from around $50 million up to over $100 million when factoring in necessary expenses like licensing, infrastructure improvements, facility and provider customizations, data migration services, training, and ongoing professional IT implementation and support.

Is Epic EMR public?

Epic primarily sells its EMR solutions to larger enterprise hospital networks and health systems managing multiple facilities, given the scope of capabilities. However, Epic has developed “Community Connect” to enable independent physicians, clinics, surgery centers and small hospitals to integrate and exchange limited data with full Epic EMR installs that may exist at partnering larger hospitals in their region. This allows broader Epic connectivity while preventing standalone acquisitions.

How much does Cerner EMR cost?

As another leading end-to-end enterprise EMR vendor rivaling Epic, Cerner’s estimated total costs for full-scale system implementations are quite comparable, typically ranging between $30 million up to $100+ million as well.

The major cost components of software licensing, infrastructure upgrades, configuration services, data migration, ongoing maintenance, and IT support will apply similarly for Cerner and other large EMR vendor solution pricing at scale.

2 replies
  1. Tamra Cox
    Tamra Cox says:

    I would like to know if EPIC is an option for our new clinic. I’d like to talk with someone and get an actual price estimate based on our needs.


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