November 15, 2010
In their article, “Debunking the 12 Key Myths of EHR Implementation,” Cheryl Waltko, Vice President of Equation and Christopher Sprowl, MD, MMM, President of HVA, made some solid and insightful observations about what is holding back many physician practices from implementing an electronic health record (EHR).
The authors debunk 12 myths:
- EHR projects are IT projects
- EHR software is useful out of the box
- EHR vendors will provide all the project management and assistance I need
- I can manage my own EHR project
- All EHR systems are the same
- EHR systems can communicate with one another
- EHR projects do not provide acceptable return on investment
- I can wait to implement my EHR
- The budget for the project is equal to the quote I received from the EHR vendor
- My practice can remain isolated from other practices in the community.
- Productivity in my practice will decrease to intolerable levels during implementation of an EHR.
- I can’t begin to implement until I know the exact definition of meaningful use.
The myth that stands out the most is the time-sensitive “I can wait to implement my EHR.” While in fact, this is true, it’s a myth to think it is necessarily in a practice’s best interest.
A physician practice CAN postpone adopting EHR technology. However, there is no better time to make a move towards EHR implementation. We are in the midst of a historic period of time where physicians who see Medicaid or Medicare patients can receive money (up to $63,750) for the adoption and meaningful use of EHR. This unprecedented incentive program will propel many practices into the electronic age and will increase patient safety and office productivity. Plus, a number of studies have shown that the cost of EHR implementation is recouped after as little as two years.
Hefty financial penalties are in store for practices that don’t get on board by 2015. Reductions in reimbursement fees could range between three and five percent.
It comes down to this: Adoption of an EHR ultimately means money in; failure to adopt an EHR by 2015 means money out. Consider your options carefully and don’t let the scary myths deter you from joining the paperless age.
If you’re not ready to go 100% paperless, you do have another option that will allow you to increase your office productivity and be eligible for federal incentive money. DrFirst’s certified Rcopia-MU is a modular solution that can help you qualify for federal incentive money. You can then put those funds to good use by implementing your complete EHR at a future date.