The market for EMRs, electronic medical records, is healthy and expected to grow over the next several years. According to several industry research firms, the need for EMR solutions will grow by 7-8% until the year 2019, at a value of $35 billion. The adoption rate of this technology, incentivized through the adoption of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was largely by fueled by its acceptance by physicians, the major driver of EMR technology.
Although acceptance of electronic medical records is high among individual physicians and practice groups, acceptance among health system managers and administrators is lagging. The reluctance appears to be focused on the cost of acquisition of EMR technology. Understanding the benefits that are associated with EMRs and why there is such a high acceptance among Primary Care Physicians (projected to be 80 percent by 2019 according to the CMS survey) may be how to turn purchasing managers and health system professionals into advocates of EMRs.
Important Features of the Right EMR Solution
The use of electronic medical records by a healthcare facility allows for the following benefits:
- The ability to track data over the history of a patient;
- Analyze and identify those patients in need of ongoing or follow-up care;
- Maintain baseline monitoring of a patient’s condition and how they stack up against certain health benchmarks; and,
- Lead to an overall improvement in patient care.
EMR solutions allow hospitals to not only better manage their patient data, but they also allow for cost savings that may outweigh the costs associated with the installation of technology. This is especially true with specialized EMR solutions tailored to your facility’s needs right out of the box. Improved patient incomes mean satisfied patients that are more likely to continue utilizing your services and recommended them to friends and family. The implementation of EMR solutions and its features is a boon to lowering costs and improving patient outcomes, two paramount features.
Meeting Patient Needs and Satisfaction
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 6 out of 10 hospitals adopted some form of EMR functionality as of 2013. The numbers are nearly four times the number of hospitals that adopted the technology in 2010. Although the data set of hospitals with advanced functionalities was low, of those hospitals using the full capabilities of their EMRs, 10 percent provided their patients with online access to their records. EMR solutions help patients manage their care in partnership with their providers and empower them to make decisions, which leads to lower service utilization and better care outcomes.
Improvements in patient care and satisfaction come about through attention to their needs. Creating an environment in which a patient feels that they are participating in their care and creating systems that improve the delivery of patient care are just two ways to meet the needs of patients and improve satisfaction. As patient satisfaction grows and their needs are met, an EMR solution can go further in eliminating redundancies and waste inherent with a paper-based system.
Does the Cost of an EMR Solution Outweigh the Benefits?
The cost of implementing an EMR system in a five-person PCP is estimated at just over $160,000, with average first-year maintenance costs of $85,000. Training hours required for the implementation of the system is more than 600 hours (nearly one month’s time) and the end user training per physician is 134 hours (1 week). When viewing the cost of implementing an EMR solution is viewed in these terms, it is difficult to argue how costs do not outweigh the benefits of the system.
EMR solutions reduce the costs associated with the maintenance of paper records for patients. EMRs also enhance both privacy and security, important issues with respect to prevailing privacy laws as mandated by federal, state and local governments. Better health care outcomes can be achieved when providers, much in the same vein as PCPs, move forward toward the full implementation of an EMR solution. EMRs make patient care safer, more effective and efficient, centered or focused on the needs of the patient (“patient first”) and, when patients are given access to their records, hospitals and providers can encourage healthier lifestyles and more preventative measures.
When it comes to your EMR, the right fit makes all the difference. Find your perfectly fitted EMR solution by working with Net Health. Our specialized outpatient EMR software products and services offer you an end-to-end solution that strengthens patient care, improves outcomes and boosts facility performance for a better bottom line. Stop wasting your team’s time on EMRs with sloppy workflows and mismanaged documentation. Instead, start working with an EMR solution that makes your life simpler by choosing a specialized outpatient EMR solution from Net Health.