Medical practitioners: How to ensure a successful transition to an EHR system

Posted by TAB on

Any medical office that has implemented an electronic health records (EHR) system, or is considering doing so, will want to take note of a potential pitfall that could reduce the effectiveness of your EHR investment and result in hard dollar losses.

A 2013 University of Michigan study looked at 49 community medical practices that had put an EHR system in place, and the projected five-year average return on investment across the participants was a loss of $44,000. In terms of the success rate, almost three-quarters of the participants would fail to achieve a positive return on their EHR system investment.

Where were they going wrong?

As the study points out, the biggest difference between practices that achieved a positive return on investment and those that did not was the use of EHR to achieve greater productivity. In other words, taking advantage of the improved efficiencies that come with an EHR system to see more patients and increase revenue.

The common denominator among practices that did not achieve a positive ROI was a failure to migrate fully to an electronic environment. Those practices that retained paper and other physical records alongside the newly created electronic records were bogged down trying to manage the “hybrid environment.”

Managing paper and electronic records in a single practice is not only inefficient and more expensive, it is potentially dangerous due to the increased potential for overlooking vital information in one format or the other.

How to avoid the hybrid nightmare.

In our recent webinar, TAB’s medical imaging expert points out the key to success for EHR transitions. Rather than starting “day one” of your EHR system with both electronic and paper records in place, the best practice approach is to first perform a scanning and abstraction exercise on all your existing medical records. This process ensures that all your existing records are searchable, sortable and otherwise easily accessible in electronic formats for daily use. This is the key to realizing the efficiencies that will enable your practice to serve more patients, and therefore achieve a positive ROI on your EHR system.

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