On the Amazing Charts user board, I recently announced new pricing for our products and services:
- Amazing Charts Electronic Health Record (EHR/EMR) License: $1995 per provider (one time charge, which now includes the first year of our Guardian Angel Support & Maintenance)
- Guardian Angel Support & Maintenance: $995/year per provider (includes maintenance, updates, support, and ePrescribing)
This new pricing goes is effective November 1, 2010, so I recommend all existing practices, and those in their trial period, purchase the correct number of provider licenses before that date. We have enhanced our Pay Portal site to allow current customers to pre-purchase two years of Guardian Angel Support & Maintenance at the current price to thus “lock-in” the older price for the next 24 months.
Nobody likes to see prices go up, but we feel it is necessary to continue to advance our software and services to remain in line with the new government regulations relating to the ARRA/HITECH stimulus money and continue to add the features our users want in the time frame they need.
And just to keep it all in perspective,even at our proposed new price, Amazing Charts remains not only the highest rated EHR according to a number of independent EHR user surveys, but we are still – by far – the least expensive EHR – whether calculated for a solo or multi-provider practice and regardless of whether the other EHR was delivered as a full client/server system or leased as an ASP.
Our biggest assets (low cost and simple usability) are also our biggest difficulties (limited resources and figuring out how to make complex certification requirements easy to use). We must set difficult priorities and implement them in an order that sometimes changes based on government and third-party changes, and sometimes means we don’t get the perfect solution the first time around.
For example, we had to delay Practice Management to allow for CCHIT certification, Surescripts certification, and improved eRx. We have held the letter writer and making order tracking and immunization entry easier as we strive to ensure that we can support the PCMH and meaningful use requirements since money from these is imminent and delaying these means less money for the majority of our users.
Amazing Charts must be eligible for every extra penny that may be available to help supplement the lousy reimbursements that most physicians experience, even if this means some users will be frustrated with certain features they know could be done better. And while I understand that not everybody agrees with these priorities, they are the tough decisions we’ve had to make to ensure we will be around for years to come.
So let me outline our current priorities. Our goal is to get the new ONC certification for meaningful use done by the end of the year and PM complete within that time frame (or very soon thereafter). These are currently our top priorities based on many of our users opinions, as well as the reality that the money is only available for a period of time starting in 2011 and ending in 2016.
Getting the promised features done in a time-frame that is promised, and with minimal bugs, is also something you have demanded and is absolutely a reasonable expectation. To that end, we have hired a bunch of developers, added a QA department to minimize the risk of bugs in our releases, and painstakingly attacked annoyances found in prior versions. Version 5.1, for example, literally has over 200 fixed “bugs” and other issues in addition to the major features of improved electronic refills and Surescripts certification. But these priorities trumped fixing the letter writer and other items that may seem easy to solve, but actually “touch” a lot of other areas of the program and will be quite programmer-intensive.
We have also added many new Help desk folks, and the learning curve of training these folks and getting them up to speed with our product, services – and most importantly, our corporate culture of fairness, honesty, hard-work, and dedication to our clients – takes awhile. (We have also had to fire folks who just couldn’t get the standard corporate bureaucratic mindset out of their head.)
For those who have been with us the longest and witnessed our steady progression, I would hope you are confident we will get there and end up with it done right. It may sometimes be slower than you would like (it certainly is slower than I would like), and there may be some hiccups along the way, but we learn and adapt and step by step, Amazing Charts will continue to strive to provide the absolute best tool to help run your practice – and do so at a reasonable price.
Let me provide an update on where we are with meaningful use (MU) and ARRA/ONC certification, and our current plan for upcoming enhancements. We are currently working on adding all the required fields as well as incorporating this directly into the office flow that will allow easy addition of MU data data as one documents ones notes. This is slated for Amazing Charts V5.2, and we expect to apply for certification this year so that all our practices will have more than enough time during 2011 (the first year of MU incentive payments). Keep in mind that a provider need only attest to using their Electronic Health Record (EHR/EMR) system meaningfully, and only has to perform “meaningful use” for a total of 90 days in 2011.
The big picture of our upcoming releases are:
V5.1 (expected to be released to beta testing in the next week or so). This version has improved eRX refill ability (and is SureScripts certified), and should have our iPhone “Amazing Charts OnCall” app to allow after-hours documentation of patient phone calls.
V5.2 – expected to be released by years end, and expected to be ARRA/HITECH certified for MU as well as the ability to generate reports to allow incentive payments (this version may be renamed V6 depending on certification requirements).
V6 – expected to be released early in 2011 and contain our Practice Management ties for eligibility, direct clearinghouse connection, etc.