Why Should Physicians Embrace Electronic Health Records?

HIMSS defines Electronic Health Records (EHR) as a longitudinal electronic record of patient health information generated by one or more encounters in any care delivery setting. The information includes patient demographics, progress notes, problems, medications, vital signs, past medical history, immunizations, laboratory data and radiology reports. Electronic Health Record software not only automates and streamlines the clinician’s workflow; it also has the ability to generate a complete record of a clinical patient encounter – in addition as supporting other care-related activities including evidence-based decision sustain, quality management, and outcomes reporting.

Electronic health records not only enhance the quality of patient care and decline medical errors, but also help increase revenues and reduce administrative costs. Physicians can realize competitive advantages and enhance the profitability of their business which is more important than ever before.

Qualitative Benefits

Since measuring return on investment (ROI) on EHR implementation is not very easy on account of an overwhelming number of qualitative benefits, most literature is filled with enumerating the qualitative benefits of EHRs. These include, but are not limited to:

Built-in error detection mechanism enhances patient safety and improves quality of patient care

Ability to ePrescribe from within EHR software

moment access to meaningful patient data from anywhere

Highly obtain due to role-based access to clinical information

More efficient tracking of patients and costs

Better documentation and improved audit capabilities

Avoidance of repeating expensive tests and more time spent with patients

Optimized workflow and less errors across the whole patient care cycle

Easy integration of EHR software with several clinical systems due to HL-7 compatibility

Optimizes reimbursement course of action due to accurate coding and fewer rejected claims

Quantitative benefits

Improves charge capture: In a case study (Nick Fabrizio, July 2005, QIO Presentation quote), a family medicine physician while seeing same number of patients increased revenues by $3000 per month due to timely visit documentation and automated charge capture.

Helps maximize billing: When using paper charts, to be on the safe side of the law, many physicians down code (use a lower billing code), instead of use an appropriate level of code. Medical Economics magazine has estimated that physicians, who ordinarily down-code to avoid audits, lose an average of $40,000 yearly.

Reduces Transcription costs: According to Medical Economics (March 2002), physicians use between $15,000 and $25,000 over the time of a year for transcription-related sets.

Reduces Storage costs: A case study revealed that a 12-physician practice saved $5,000 a year in storage space after converting to EHR. In another study, a major medical center in Boston seeing 750,000 patients a year, estimated they will save $6 million yearly by reducing their dependence on paper records.

Reduces liability and malpractice insurance premiums: In a 2005 survey by the Medical Liability Monitor, a four-state average of the highest liability rates for OB/GYN was $230,919. With a two to five percent credit from malpractice insurance companies, clinics would save $4,600 to $11,500 per provider, per year, if they implemented an EHR.

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