Getting more value from your healthcare IT

How to choose a technology partner that will support your success


  • The total cost of ownership in IT investments, including labor, operating, and opportunity costs
  • How to choose a technology partner that will support your success

“Lower costs, higher quality.” This has been the mantra in U.S. healthcare for decades, but never have these priorities been more pressing than now. Today’s healthcare organizations face a daunting set of challenges that threaten both mission and margin, including increased competition, changing reimbursement models, and the ever-rising burden of administrative work. Yet at a time when the pressure is on to reduce operating expenses, U.S. spending on healthcare IT is rising rapidly, with $7.1 billion in IT spending projected across the industry in 2018.1 The average healthcare IT project results in a loss of nearly $44,000 per physician over five years,2 with many health systems continuing to accept this as a sunk capital expense.

It’s time for organizations to raise their expectations of healthcare IT as a strategic investment that contributes to a wide range of business goals, rather than just another line item on the IT department’s budget. Many organizations evaluate the total cost of ownership of their IT investments based on the costs to implement and maintain the technology. We propose, instead, considering the “total cost to achieve results” — a model that goes beyond implementation and maintenance to include labor costs, operating costs, and opportunity costs.

We aim to take on more than 10 hours worth of administrative staff work per provider each week on behalf of our customers, on average,3 in addition to providing other benefits that support their business goals.

1. Morse, Susan. 2018. “US health IT investment skyrockets to $7.1 billion.” Healthcare IT News, January 26, 2018.
2. According to a study of 49 community practices in a large EHR pilot, the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative. In: Adler-Milstein, Julia et al. 2013.“A Survey Analysis Suggests That Electronic Health Records Will Yield Revenue Gains For Some Practices And Losses For Many.” Health Affairs 32(3): 562-570. hlthaff.2012.0306
3. Based on internal athenahealth estimations.

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