With so many software solutions to choose from for the success of your practice, it is easy to assume that cost is the key factor in selecting your vendor business partner, but keep in mind that hidden costs abound in the EHR software marketplace. When selecting your software, evaluate the "total cost of ownership" (TCO), which includes the initial cost of software, installation, training, and ongoing costs. 

Hidden annual IT support cost of independent of software support and updates can be huge - and there can be wide variations. For example, while some mid-sized practices report $8,000 to $13,000 per year for onsite IT PC support, other similar-sized practices using Macs report $300 to $500 per year.

Similarly, when you evaluate the cost of hardware, the acquisition price of hardware doesn’t include the total cost of ownership. IBM found that PCs are 3 times as expensive to manage, and that they save $535 for every Mac. Every Mac they purchase actually saves them money.

Total Cost of Ownership can spill over into some unexpected areas, as well. For example, cloud solutions might cost less up front, but make sure you know the differences between an OS X "native" solution like MacPractice and a cloud solution that runs in a browser on a Mac. The differences are huge. Especially when it comes to paying for a redundant Internet solution to be able to access your healthcare records in the event of an outage or technical issue with your Internet. 

Some software solutions are also often not compatible with digital imaging equipment, which can be an enormous cost to replace! MacPractice is compatible with nearly any type of digital imaging equipment or sensor that is compatible with a Mac. 

Quality training is often overlooked when it comes to Total Cost of Ownership. Experienced doctors will tell you that onsite training for you and your staff is essential to the success of your practice. Ask about the availability of affordable, onsite training, regional onsite consulting and remote training resources.

In a modern practice, software is the "brain" of the operation. Select a software product and a software developer you can trust and believe. You are running more than a practice - you're running a business. Your software company should be your most trusted partner, one who understands your business, evolves with you, and is built for the future with continued innovation.

[photo credit: #WOCinTech]