Meaningful Use incentives and other industry changes are spurring a rapid wave of EHR adoption. The right EHR can help get your practice more money, more time, and more control – enabling you to focus on patient care.
Who’s Afraid of Electronic Health Records?
Uneasy about switching to electronic health records (EHRs)? You are not alone.
Many physician practices are troubled by the huge upfront costs many EHRs require – hardware, software, interfaces, and IT support – without a clear return on investment (ROI).
Practices also worry about disruption during EHR implementation. They could face a forced reduction in patient load during the transition to an EHR. For some, this could lead to a permanent reduction in revenue. On top of that, providers fear that EHR implementation will take too much time away from seeing patients, slow them down, and always be difficult to use.
An article in the Boston Globe under the headline “Doctors not in stampede to go digital” portrayed the angst among physicians about giving up their trusted and outdated paper charts. Despite billions in federal money to incent doctors to go digital, many providers remain reluctant.
“EHRs are quite complex and controversial, and a lot more expensive than they would seem on the surface,” a Massachusetts-based internist told the paper. To him, they seem like enough trouble that he’s even willing to forfeit the HITECH Act subsidy the government is offering.
This article confirms the fact that despite widespread use of information technology in other sectors, physicians don’t see the long-term value of electronic conversion.
But the right EHR – especially as part of an integrated solution with practice management and patient communications services–can dramatically boost the efficiency and profitability of medical groups, while improving patient care. And when done right, EHR implementation can be a smooth and practice- strengthening process.
Time to Switch to an EHR?
For years, experts have praised EHRs for their potential to improve patient care, reduce medical error and contain costs in the American health care system. The goal is for all physicians to begin using EHRs over the next decade and $19.2 billion has been committed through the HITECH Act to make this a reality.
The Right EHR Can Transform Your Practice
More than just making a practice eligible for HITECH Act reimbursement, the right EHR – implemented successfully and optimized for your practice – can have major advantages for patient care, profitability, and practice personnel. In the NEJM study, an overwhelming majority of physicians said that using electronic records improved the quality of clinical decisions, helped to avoid medication errors, and improved the delivery of preventative care.
Ultimately, the right EHR can help your practice operate seamlessly among all of your affiliated hospitals, clinics, labs, and pharmacies. It helps your providers have a current, accurate, and complete clinical picture of each patient, so they can make the most appropriate clinical decisions. And the right EHR helps the practice manage the business side of things, enabling it to run more effectively and profitably.
Specifically, the right EHR can support:
- Stronger practice profitability. With more accurate clinical documentation, a practice can bill at appropriate service levels. It can gain workflow efficiencies that contain or reduce the costs of delivering care.
- Better patient care. Improved access to patient information and clinical data could mean reduced medical errors, better patient safety, and stronger support for clinical decision making.
- Process integrity. An EHR can help get things done the right way, at the right time, and the same way each time – all based on best practice workflows.
- Provider and staff satisfaction. A successfully implemented EHR can strengthen the practice team, provide more time for direct patient care, and reduce administrative burdens.
- Practice growth. Access to clinical and financial data gives the practice greater control over and visibility into practice operations, which provide direction for growth.
How to Achieve Success with an EHR
In a nutshell: Practices that achieve success with an EHR plan correctly and choose the right vendor.The right planning includes four steps: assessment and goal-setting, creating a budget and project team, managing change, and redesigning practice workflow. But planning alone is not enough for a successful EHR implementation. You need to find the right EHR vendor – one that provides excellent service over the long term, and offers a system with a proven return on investment (ROI).
Better Way to EHR Adoption
EHR adoption does require hard work and careful planning. But with the insights here, your practice is well-equipped to find and implement the right EHR – for stronger revenue, better patient care, and minimal disruption. In the long term, if you’ve done the right planning and selected the right vendor, your practice will enjoy substantial cost efficiencies so you can focus on what matters most – patient care.
If you are looking to upgrade from your old paper records to electronic health records and you want to know more about the government subsidies that are offered by the HiTech act give EHR Funding a call today at 866-203-3260.