A recent study estimates electronic medical records (EMR) – or, electronic health records (EHR) – improve overall efficiency by 6% per year, and the monthly cost of an EHR may be offset by the cost of only a few “unnecessary” tests or repeat visits.
An electronic health record is a computerized medical record created in an organization that delivers care, such as in a hospital or clinical setting. Electronic health records tend to be a part of a local stand-alone health information system that allows storage, retrieval and modification of those records based on the provider / patient interaction.
Paper based records are quickly making way for EHR systems as the preferred method of recording patient information for most hospitals and clinical practices. Doctors are now finding that the use of EHR helps them to more effectively treat patients and access patient data. EHR can significantly reduce the costs to move the data from one clinical setting to another (i.e., multiple offices). Additionally, paper records require a significant amount of storage space compared to digital records. In the US, most states require physical records be held for a minimum of seven years. The costs of storage media, such as paper and film, per unit of information differ dramatically from that of electronic storage media. When paper records are stored in different locations, collating them to a single location for review by a health care provider is time consuming and complicated, whereas the process can be simplified with electronic records. This is particularly true when paper-based records are required in multiple locations. Copying, faxing, and transporting costs of traditional paper based records are significant compared to digital records.
Federal and state governments, insurance companies and other large medical institutions are heavily promoting the adoption of electronic medical records and Congress included a formula of both incentives (up to $44K per physician under Medicare or up to $65K over 6 years, under Medicaid) and penalties (i.e., decreased Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements for covered patients to doctors who fail to use EHR by 2015) for EMR/EHR adoption versus continued use of paper records as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Call the medical systems specialists at NECS today to see how EHR can improve your practice.
Northeast Computer Services: 845-876-3031