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.
- 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!