EMR Adoption: Why Are You Still on the Fence?

A growing number of physicians—particularly specialists—are no longer on the fence when it comes to the government’s EHR incentives. As evidenced by a recent spate of articles and blogs—one of the more compelling ones being “Is HITECH Working?: Key Physicians Will Sit on the Sidelines (At Least for Now)”—they realize that the costs outweigh the benefits. Physicians have decided that they:

  • Will not buy the type of EMR that is difficult to use and has not worked for other physicians in their specialty;
  • Will not risk the costs of a failed implementation;
  • Cannot tolerate the decrease in productivity—seeing fewer patients and generating less revenue;
  • Have established as a priority improving the quality of patient care they deliver, rather than collecting and reporting data that the government wants;
  • Cannot afford to take on unnecessary additional administrative burdens in the face of declining reimbursements;
  • Are not worried about potential penalties that will be relatively small, if they are even imposed at all; and
  • Are not interested in the government’s program, the benefits of which accrue primarily to other stakeholders, and not to their practice.
So why are these physicians, who have determined that government incentives are not relevant or achievable, still on the fence about adopting an EMR solution that will deliver measurable benefits? Staying with paper charts is not a good business strategy because there is nothing more inefficient!
  • The costs associated with the excess staff needed to manage these medical records are massive and wasteful—these positions can be eliminated or the employees can be more effectively used in revenue-generating or patient-care roles.
  • Paper charts hinder practice growth because adding physicians requires a proportional increase in support staff—medical records, billing, nurses, and medical assistants—and because physicians can’t see more patients without lengthening their work hours.
  • Slow responsiveness to primary care physicians limits referral volume.
  • Profitability is further affected by billing bottlenecks that delay revenue collection.
  • The chaos associated with trying to manage paper charts has a damaging effect on staff morale and creates rampant frustration among patients, physicians, and staff.
  • Paper charts are a malpractice nightmare—prescriptions are not consistently documented, orders are not easily tracked, and medical decisions are often made without complete clinical information.

You cannot afford to maintain the status quo.

Physicians can transform their practices without the government—there are excellent EMR solutions available, such as the hybrid EMR. It’s time to become digital. It’s time to get off the fence!

4 thoughts on “EMR Adoption: Why Are You Still on the Fence?

  1. ALL OF THE FOLLOWING ARGUMENTS ARE BASICALLY FALSE.
    Staying with paper charts is not a good business strategy because there is nothing more inefficient!
    The costs associated with the excess staff needed to manage these medical records are massive and wasteful—these positions can be eliminated or the employees can be more effectively used in revenue-generating or patient-care roles.
    Paper charts hinder practice growth because adding physicians requires a proportional increase in support staff—medical records, billing, nurses, and medical assistants—and because physicians can’t see more patients without lengthening their work hours.
    Slow responsiveness to primary care physicians limits referral volume.
    Profitability is further affected by billing bottlenecks that delay revenue collection.
    The chaos associated with trying to manage paper charts has a damaging effect on staff morale and creates rampant frustration among patients, physicians, and staff.
    Paper charts are a malpractice nightmare—prescriptions are not consistently documented, orders are not easily tracked, and medical decisions are often made without complete clinical information.
    I BELIEVE IN A COMPUTER GENERATED CHART-BOTH THE DIGITAL COPY AND THE HARD COPY BECAUSE THEY ALLOW YOU TO BRING MORE INFORMATION TO THE PATIENTS CHART AND CARE. IT ALLOWS YOU TO PRACTICE BETTER MEDICINE. HOWEVER, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DESTROY YOUR PRACTICE TO ACCOMPLISH THIS. I WILL BE HAPPY TO SHARE OUR EXPERIENCE AND KNOW
    HOW WITH ANY WHO ARE INTEREST.

  2. ON THE FENCE??? No not on the fence about EMR.. I totally reject the notion.. for many reasons, the first is that it is not affordable.. second.. It detracts from patient interaction (e.g. doc, get your head out of that darn computer screen and talk to me) third. most records are just lists of negatives and difficult for referring docs to even see the essentials. Fourth EMR programs are not completely compatible with each other.. Fifth: No studies really confirm that EMR is better medicine: Garbage in/ Garbage out.. OK quicker retrieval, less record storage space, more efficient billing options: BUT THE PRICE!!! and the MAINTENANCE Fees.. are more than paying a good billing person in the office.. SO NO EMR THANKS WAH

    [From Evan Steele] Dr. Hubbard,
    The concerns that you raise are all valid, but they apply to traditional, point-and-click, templated/note-centric EMRs, not all EMRs. You’ve described many of the problems that have led to the high failure rate (50%-80%) of this type of EMR; these are the very reasons that physicians—particularly specialists—are not rushing to adopt them. However, paper charts are not the best solution. The hybrid EMR is a far superior alternative and does not have the drawbacks you noted, nor the limitations of paper. It is designed to enhance the physician’s workflow, does not require him/her to sit in front of a computer entering data during the patient encounter, and allows documentation of exams in any way that the physician finds most valuable. The hybrid EMR makes all of the providers in the practice —staff and physicians—more efficient, enabling the physician to see more patients and provide better patient care and service. Users of the hybrid EMR have documented success in generating savings well in excess of the cost—which is considerably less than that of a traditional EMR—and are universally happy with their EMR solution.

  3. I have used EMR for 12 years. I have 2 EMRs. I am an IT consultant with 25 years of experience in the field of computers, EMR, networking, programing etc. I have been all set up and all ready to reep the so called “benefits” from “meaningful use” of EMR. Unfortunately however, I was not the one who defined “meaningful use”, neither I will be able to comply with it’s requirements unless I forget about the patients or take 30% cut in revenues while I change my practice from patient care to “meaningful use” So I get to chew the government’s carrots before the stick comes along. After all, the whole purpose is not to improve patient care, it is rather to control cost through putting tabs on and excessive and drastic serial cuts on physicians’ income. It is rather to speed the wheel up so the rats run faster and faster for nothing.

    I am a physician who is only concerned with patient care and not the practice of government defined EHR meaningful use. I understand I am invited inside the pig bin with the promise of few carrots and if I do not comply I will receive the stick. Sorry, i am for patient care only.

  4. As a physician my own analysis of meaningful use is use for them (Fed-Gov-Other), not for us or our patients. Probably no official solution for me. Although I do use a homegrown EMR, currently based on 4D database engine and 20 years in the making, that is extremely meaningful for me and my practice.

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