Health Execs See EHR as Future Financial Boon

A CapGemini survey finds that the majority of health executives feel electronic health records will have a positive financial impact over the long term.

While very few practices have fully implemented electronic health records, a majority of health executives feel they will have a positive financial impact over the long term, according to a new report by Capgemini Health Practice. The survey also found support for the government taking a more active role in coordinating integration efforts.

Capgemini researched the attitudes of health industry executives toward EHRs themselves and toward the governments role in coordinating health IT.

The survey consisted of responses from 84 executives at hospitals, health insurance plans, physician groups, health technology vendors and other health organizations. Seventy percent felt EHRs would, over the long term, have a positive financial impact. Just over half had held internal discussions concerning EHRs. About a third had conducted a financial analysis or examined the business case.

The Capgemini report found that costs (58 percent), physician resistance (46 percent) and lack of technology standards (30 percent) were considered the greatest barriers to adoption. In addition, several respondents thought financial incentives for physicians would be necessary for adoption.

/zimages/5/28571.gifThese results were consistent with another recent analysis. Read about the analysis here.

The survey also found that the role of payers like health insurers in promoting EHRs is unclear.

Payers are most keen to promote the e-prescribing aspect of EHRs, said John Quinn, chief technology officer of Capgeminis provider health practice. Thats because "they can effect savings through formulary adherence," or influencing what brands of drugs are prescribed.

Beyond that, he said, insurers might get involved if there is already an initiative in their region, "but when you get right down to it, it may be a while before someone puts a pen to a checkbook," he said.

Most systems fall short of an EHR as envisioned by the federal government, which would be shared by different providers, follow the patient and support several applications, like computerized order entry, follow-up prompts and clinical specialty needs. In addition, patients would be able to access their records and request what information would be confidential.

Next page: What about a national patient identifier?