Client Data Toolkit: Purchasing

Purchasing: How to Estimate the Cost of Your System

Trying to find out the actual price of what an EHR system will cost can be an exercise in patience and persistence. To begin with, there are many ways that vendors price their EHR products. The user licenses may be priced per billing provider, per provider FTE equivalent, per named user, per concurrent user, or based on a perentage of your organizational operating budget.

The process usually begins with a demo. Many vendors want to show you a thirty to sixty minute demo of the product before they will discuss system pricing.

EHR Incentives - The Stimulus Money

The U.S. government has made incentive money available for health care organizations to implement electronic health records. All of these products have a robust set of features and are on track to have their products certified by ONC. Behavioral healthcare providers must use an ONC certified EHR to qualify for Medicaid and Medicare Meaningful Use incentive payments. ONC is the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Behavioral Healthcare Magazine has published some very useful articles:

How to Write a Request For Proposal (RFP)

Grants and Grant Writing
How to Fund Your Client Data Management System

There are many funding sources available for health and technology projects. The list below will give you a starting point. In addition, you can do an internet search on the following words and phrases. Put the phrase in quotation marks for better search results.

  • EHR
  • ERM
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Electronic Medical Records
  • Health Information Technology

Instructions for Writing a Grant

  • Basic Elements of Grant Writing - The Corporation for Public Broadcasting provides an easy guide to the basic elements of grant writing.
  • Grant Proposals - A comprehensive site on proposal writing. Includes an overview, inquiry and cover letters, standard components of a proposal, a sample proposal, advice from funders, and more. Includes an excellent section on researching funding opportunities.
  • Position Yourself to Write a Superior Technology Proposal - TechSoup Stock connects nonprofits and public libraries with donated and discounted technology products. Especially in difficult economic times, as foundation portfolios shrink.
  • Ten Tips for Funding Technology - Budget technology expenses as shared costs, not overhead: One of the biggest mistakes people often make when preparing technology grant proposals is to simply lump technology.
  • Beyond the Case Statement: Your Grant Proposal - The core of the proposal is your case statement (see Writing a Winning Grant Proposal, "Position Yourself to Write a Superior Technology Proposal, and "Building a Great Case Statement.
  • Development Office Technology Planning - Your technology plan should focus on three primary areas: decision support, communication, and workflow. Your communications plan must be carefully integrated with your information.

Publications on Technology Funding

Funding Resources 

Technology Donations and Discounts

Many organizations give substantial discounts to nonprofits for hardware and software. It is worth exploring these options to see if you are eligible.

  • TechSoup has an online product donation service that connects nonprofits with technology product donations from more than twenty-five leading corporate and nonprofit technology partners. Eligible nonprofits can purchase Microsoft Office, Windows, Windows Server, and Norton AntiVirus at up to 90 percent off the retail cost. A nominal administrative fee is applied to each product. Learn more at A Quick Guide to Discounted Software Programs.
  • Good 360 (Formerly Gifts in Kind) provides software donations from Adobe, Autodesk, Microsoft, Intuit, Lotus, PowerQuest and Symantec (cost is around $30). Some donations require that you join Gifts in Kind ($125 per year) while others require no membership (i.e. Adobe).
  • Consistent Computer Bargains, Inc. provides discounts on many software titles to nonprofit organizations. Consistent Computer Bargains works with several software publishers including Adobe, Corel, Lotus, Macromedia, McAfee, Microsoft. CCB has also secured special pricing with Acer, IBM, and HP for hardware discounts.

Microsoft software donations are made in response to the requests of individual nonprofits to meet their organizational needs. The process for requesting a software donation depends on the location of your organization. Be sure to check the most current Microsoft Eligibility Requirements.

  • TechSoup - Microsoft Program - All Microsoft software donation requests within the United States and Canada are handled by the Microsoft nonprofit partner TechSoup. There is no membership fee for access to TechSoup, but a small administrative fee from TechSoup will apply to each order to help offset the organization's costs.
  • Microsoft Open License Charity Program - For nonprofit organizations that do not meet the Microsoft or TechSoup eligibility guidelines and for organizations that need to request additional software. This program enables nonprofit organizations to purchase Microsoft software and licenses at a substantially reduced cost; it is available in several countries worldwide.

Check out the next section of the toolkit: Customizing: What Does Your System Need to Do?

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