Docs Rate EHR Benefits
Are EHR vendors using the best approach to reach physicians? What do physicians really want in an EHR anyway?
Certainly affordability is a major concern. However, EHRs aren’t marketed like cars or shoes, so price is rarely mentioned – unless it’s Practice Fusion which constantly boasts that it is provided free (with ads).
An interesting article in the May 7 issue the AMA News reports that charge capture ranks high on physicians’ list of EHR benefits.
With an EHR in place, charge capture improves, “which means more money.”
The article quotes an internist who said that while his exams are just as thorough as always, the EHR has helped him document their completeness.
“In the past, I would ask all the questions and only document half of them because of having to write it all out. The EHR allows me to document more thoroughly, which is good for a number of reasons.”
The medical director of a mid-size hospital noted
“I know that we were missing a boatload of charges on the nursing side on things like start and stop times for IVs, which we could never keep track of.”
All this is fine for the provider – and the patient whose quality of care is improved – but the more billed charges means higher costs for payers. That is not going to lower medical costs in the long run and it may be one of the reasons health insurers have never been strong advocates of EHRs.
Many EHR vendors with cloud-based systems have pointed to the ability to access medical data remotely and indeed, a number of physicians cited that capability.
“Physicians say ‘I can get the data in from my home office, from my PDA, from iPhone or my iPad, and it becomes a truly networked scenario that we have not really had before in health care.’”
Finally, another EHR feature cited by physicians is the patient portal. Physicians whose systems have this capability report an increase in productivity because “the patients are now taking responsibility for doing some of the administrative work that front desk staff used to do.”
While the article didn’t specify which tasks the patients are doing, it is probably self-reporting of demographic information and later downloading of the summary-of-care.