Making an EHR Work for You

Six years ago, President George W. Bush stated that “by computerizing health records, we can avoid dangerous medical mistakes, reduce costs and improve care.” Since then, computerization has slowly improved the health care system, especially in light of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provided $19 billion in incentives to health care providers that use EHRs. Why they fail, according to experts from the Institute of Medicine who visited health care facilities, may be because they’re simply hard to use: Health care providers have to flip among many screens to access data, which can be more cumbersome that working with paper charts.

Can You Afford an EHR?

Despite $20 billion in EMR implementation incentives offered by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, there’s still a problem when it comes to calculating return on investment in health care IT, according to a recent Computerworld article.

Be Prepared For Significant IT Investments As a Result of EHR Implementation

Government incentives will only offset electronic health record (EHR) costs by about 15% to 20%, according to McKinsey & Company—which means health care providers should be prepared to make a significant investment as part of a “radical new approach to IT.” According to their study published in management consulting firm McKinsey & Company’s business journal McKinsey Quarterly , American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) money will not come close to covering the expenses of an EHR. “This should not be a news flash,” wrote Paul Roemer on the Healthcare IT Strategy blog.

Medicare incentive payments for EHR use clarified

As most physicians know by now, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provides incentive payments for physicians who treat Medicare patients. Physicians are not required to treat a minimum number of Medicare patients in order to be eligible for the incentive payments.