Costs of Implementing a Computerized Prescription System in a Public Mental Health Agency

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ObjectiveThe objective of this case report is to inform decision makers about costs associated with adding a computerized prescription component to an existing information system in specialty mental health agencies.MethodsA computerized prescription system was implemented in four not-for-profit mental health agencies in an urban setting as part of a larger study looking at reducing racial disparities. This brief report describes the implementation costs at one agency with ten full-time-equivalent psychiatrists for which information was available on time devoted to implementation by the management information system personnel. The financial costs of the computer network hardware and software were also documented.ResultsThe total initial cost was $27,607: preimplementation cost, $3,720; technology and system integration cost, $10,148; and training cost, $13,739. Annual ongoing cost was expected to be $14,725.ConclusionsThe technology expenditure itself is not prohibitive for initial implementation as well as for ongoing support.

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