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MGMA: EHR adoption is beneficial

February 17, 2011

Medical offices can increase revenues by converting to electronic health record software, despite the added costs that come from the implementation, according to recent research by the Medical Group Management Association.

The organization hopes that its research will quiet naysayers who don’t want to ditch paper medical records and other older office technologies.

The research, titled Electronic Health Records Impacts on Revenue, Costs and Staffing, found that medical practices reported nearly $50,000 more total revenue after operating costs per full-time physician than practices with paper records. Offices with EHR did report expenses near $105,591 per physician, but they also reported a median of $178,907 more total revenue per doctor.

According to the MGMA, that payoff continues to grow over time for medical practices with EHR. This is most likely due to the fact that as practices gain more experience, they become more proficient with the technology. After five years of use, practices that had Electronic Health Records reported an operating margin 10.1 percent higher than those in their first year using EHR.

“Adopting an electronic system can be costly and time consuming, and understanding the impact it will have on the practice is critical,” says MGMA CEO and president William F. Jessee, M.D. “While the implementation process can be very cumbersome, these data indicate that there are financial benefits to practices that implement EHR systems.”

In addition to cost savings, EHR implementation can have many other advantages for medical offices. Sharing of information, connectivity and interoperability is one of the best features, according to the website Healthcare Tracker. Most EHR also offer an integrated database for online ordering of labs, procedures, immunizations and supplies.

Thanks to the computerized reminders, prompts and electronic alerts built into many EHR programs, office workflow and the standards of care.

“That is correct,” writes the site. “No more sticky notes.”

According to the Center for Health IT at the American Academy of Family Physicians, other potential benefits of an EHR include reduced transcription costs, fewer chart pulls, improved coding of visits, improved intra-office communication and easier preventative care.

The AAFP explains that the first step to successful EHR adoption is preparation. Next, practices must select the EHR program that best fits their needs, implement the system then carefully maintain the program.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2011 7:42 pm

    I recently made the switch from paper to electronic and I have not noticed any negative changes in productivity. In fact, my work day seems to run more smoothly. I have learned that it is important to find a company that will guide both you and your staff members through the change. I chose a small company called TNEHR and I would recommend them to any doctor who wants to make the switch.
    http://www.tnehr.com

    • August 17, 2011 1:36 pm

      Thank you for your comment. We are hearing the same types of comments (i.e. getting staff buy in = success) from our Sage customers. Good luck with your new system.

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