Studies Show Electronic Medical Records Make Financial Sense
Although relatively few practices are doing so, new studies indicate that instituting electronic health records at the physician's office may save money not only for doctors but also for a nation inundated with rapidly increasing health care costs.Instituting electronic health records is an expensive proposition, especially for small physician practices. And few of these practices are adopting EMRs, hindered by costs and concerns about the technology. But one of a series of new studies in the September/October issue of the journal Health Affairs addressing the adoption of health information technology suggests that although adoption is slow and risky, it can pay off for small practices. And if enough health care providers implement electronic health record technology, the payoff in savings for national health care in the United States could be significant, according to another study in the same journal. Only 12 percent of practices with five or fewer full-time physicians reported having functional electronic health record systems, according to a nationally representative sample of physician practices on their use of information technology. Overall, including larger practices, about 18 percent are using electronic health records. But that figure has remained almost unchanged since 2001. However, 34 percent of practices surveyed said that they planned to implement EMRs within the next two years.
Two surveys hint that consumers may be ready to pay for electronic medical records. Click here to read more.