EMR: Don’t Settle for Less

Anytime new technology is introduced to industries, big gains in productivity and efficiency are the end result. The banking and finance industries are prime examples of industries where advancements in new technologies resulted in exponential growth in productivity and efficiency. Unfortunately, the direct opposite has occurred—and continues to occur—when it comes to electronic medical record (EMR) technology and medical practices. Studies have documented the very real, devastating loss in productivity that many medical practices face when implementing an EMR. Productivity losses ranging from 40% to 60% are commonplace, and most practices have to struggle to claw their way back to the same level of productivity they had before their EMR implementation—many times never reaching that point. In any other industry this would not be acceptable, nor tolerated.

Knowing this, why would you accept anything less than an improvement in the current level of productivity within your medical practice? Physicians should expect, and demand, the same leap in productivity that other industries experience from advancing technologies. Physicians enter the medical world to help others—to make a positive impact, raise the bar on patient care, and make things better . . . not to settle for less.

Why, then, when selecting an EMR, would these same physicians even consider a product that actually lowers their efficiency and productivity? Investing in an electronic medical records system that requires physicians to cut their patient load for an extended period of time completely contradicts the purpose of investing in technology. There is no long-term or short-term benefit to adopting an EMR product with such destructive consequences to your medical practice.

So, what do you do? How do you avoid a system that will lead you down the treacherous path of lost productivity and potential EMR failure? Find an EMR that is built on a productivity-focused foundation and insist on being shown the productivity and profitability benefits.

The graphic below illustrates the increase in physician productivity that results during each stage of an implementation of a productivity-focused EMR.

Ability of EHR to Increase Provider Productivity

With a productivity-focused EMR (let’s use SRS EHR as an example), as the practice goes paperless, there is an immediate and considerable gain in productivity. As ePrescribing and Order Management are introduced, significant improvements in communication, patient care, and physician time management result. Using the SRS FlexNote™, physicians continue to document exams as they are accustomed. They have the freedom to dictate, use voice recognition, or to use templates. Whichever option physicians choose, their productivity—their ability to generate revenue and manage their time more efficiently—increases. These are the vital benefits physicians and medical practice decision-makers should expect and demand before investing in an electronic medical record system.

Stay tuned for next week’s post to learn the financial impact that varying productivity levels can have on your practice.

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