In a bit of a reverse, HHS is “clairifying” statements reported in a New York Times article from last week. (Reported on this site here.) Vista-Office EHR will not
be made available to physicians for free. HHS officials will be
collecting a $2,700 license fee per physician from those using the
softare. In another step backwards, the $2,700 fee is characterized by
a CMS spokesman as being, “for
the first year,” which would imply some sort of recurring license fee.
It also seems that the August 1, 2005 release date will not be met.

Software license fees are only part of the cost of implementing an EMR.
Additional costs include infrastructure (servers, computers, network),
physical installation, and implementation (software configuration, integration with billing and other systems, user
training, and initial “dual operation” where original procedures are
continued for a time while EMR operation is validated). Given that
Vista has a reputation for difficult installations ($$$), and EMR
implementation of any kind is not trivial, the actual savings realized
by physicians may not be significant.

My previous post on “free” VistaOffice is here.

In the Health IT World News story, the New York Times gets a spanking:

The Times story did not quote any federal official and an aide [sic] Brailer said that the Times reporter did not contact the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology for the article.

Typical performance for the “newspaper of record.”