EMRs Benefit Even Small Providers, Says Survey

EMRs provide measurable benefits for providers of all sizes, including small practices, according to a recent survey. Plus, the return on investment is high: According to researcher, it costs just $7,857 and takes just 130 hours to implement an EMR at a five-member practice. In contrast to prior suggestions that electronic medical records (EMRs) may not benefit small health care providers, a new survey says there are measurable benefits for providers of all sizes. To conduct the survey, current and past Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) staff members looked 154 peer-reviewed articles written from 2007 to 2010. In their paper “The Benefits of Health Information Technology: A Review of the Recent Literature Shows Predominantly Positive Results,” they report that 92 percent reached the conclusion that the use of health IT has an overall positive effect. The survey also found evidence of emerging measurable benefits for small health care practices in addition to the large ones. That may be because the return on investment is high. Case in point: Dr. Neil Fleming, vice president for health care research at Baylor Health Center System, says EHR implementation cost $7,857 per physician and takes 130 hours at a five-member practice. The reason for the discrepancy with prior studies, says David Blumenthal, the national coordinator for health care IT, is that prior studies focused on the early years of EHR development when functionality was not as mature. “Two salient aspects of this more recent synthesis are that it brings the literature up to date and extends it beyond the few large systems that were the source of most information on the record for health information technology, and looks at it in a much more representative set of provider settings,” Blumenthal said. Related articles: New survey shows EHRs benefit even small providers EMRsprovide measurable benefits for providers of all sizes, including small practices, according to a recent survey. Plus, the return on investment is high: According to researcher, it costs just $7,857 and takes just 130 hours to implement an EMR at a five-member practice.

In contrast to prior suggestions that electronic medical records (EMRs) may not benefit small health care providers, a new survey says there are measurable benefits for providers of all sizes.

To conduct the survey, current and past Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) staff members looked 154 peer-reviewed articles written from 2007 to 2010.

In their paper “The Benefits of Health Information Technology: A Review of the Recent Literature Shows Predominantly Positive Results,” they report that 92 percent reached the conclusion that the use of health IT has an overall positive effect.

The survey also found evidence of emerging measurable benefits for small health care practices in addition to the large ones.

That may be because the return on investment is high. Case in point: Dr. Neil Fleming, vice president for health care research at Baylor Health Center System, says EHR implementation cost $7,857 per physician and takes 130 hours at a five-member practice.

The reason for the discrepancy with prior studies, says David Blumenthal, the national coordinator for health care IT, is that prior studies focused on the early years of EHR development when functionality was not as mature.

“Two salient aspects of this more recent synthesis are that it brings the literature up to date and extends it beyond the few large systems that were the source of most information on the record for health information technology, and looks at it in a much more representative set of provider settings,” Blumenthal said.

Related articles: New survey shows EHRs benefit even small providers

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