Return on Investment for Electronic Health Records: One Physician’s Perspective
We recently posted Dr. Patrick Golden’s Meaningful Use success story in our LinkedIn group. One of our group members responded, asking how Dr. Golden approaches the Return on Investment (ROI) for his Electronic Health Record (EHR) purchase. Here are Dr. Golden’s thoughts.
Patrick Golden, MD - To be quite frank, I did not initially look at Electronic Health Records as a means for receiving a return on investment, I was really looking for a better and more efficient way to run my business. I knew that the quality of the patient records, the ability to do electronic prescriptions for patients, the ability to have patients have access to their medical records (labs, RX’s, etc.) would only improve the quality of care I could provide my patients. As it turns out, my return on investment has been remarkable in many ways.
I have been able to receive incentive payments for doing RX prescriptions electronically for the past two years, I have just successfully attested for Meaningful Use and expect to receive $44,000 for that over the next three years, I also expect to receive an incentive payment for reporting on clinical conditions for my patients this year. The savings in transcriptions/dictations is also significant. I still have to dictate procedure notes for procedures performed in my office, but all other correspondence is generated through my electronic medical records system. As all MD’s know, the cost of transcriptions can be prohibitive. Another cost savings is that I have been able to eliminate the cost for a storage unit that held many years of paper records.
I have no doubt that in time all the facilities I work with will some day become bi-directional with their records and I am now in a position to receive hospital records, reports from other physicians and many other records electronically without paper. I actually feel sorry for MD’s who are still recording in a paper chart. I am able to create an electronic record of a patient visit in a much faster period of time than with paper records and with full legibility. Most Doc’s don’t have the best penmanship and Medicare and most insurance companies are strongly against illegible doctor’s records.
In summary, I never intended to receive money back from my purchase of the electronic medical record system. I looked at it as a tool to improve my practice and I looked at it as a business expense. In fact, I began my use of the EHR before Medicare ever began talking about a Meaningful Use reimbursement to physicians. I am certainly pleased I made the decision to purchase the system and that I have this practice tool. I have absolutely no regrets and would make the same decision again.
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The Sage LinkedIn group is open to medical professionals working in ambulatory practices, hospital-owned practices and hospitals. Simply request to join the group and, once approved, feel free to add your thoughts to the discussion.