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Why Are Doctors Slow In Using EHRs

Armen Hareyan's picture

The use of electronic health records (EHRs) benefit both patients and health care providers, but many practices have a list of excuses for not implementing an EHR and that seems unchanged by the Obama HITECH Act’s $22 billion in incentives for physicians. ePatientHistory.com is an easy-to-use, cost-effective solution for secure digital capture of patient health records that results in a practical ROI with effortless implementation.

Experts agree that compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is not the reason electronic health records are not being adopted quicker. The reason is primarily the cost. To this end, the government is offering grants and incentives to help subsidize the cost. Subsidies from the government will help, but in the end physicians end up paying the substantial difference. Despite offering delivery models that are similar to other web-based data collection and storage applications, most commercial EHR offerings are still extremely expensive.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, more than half of physicians practice alone or with no more than two partners. Solo physicians or small-group practices will spend an estimated $124,000 between 2011 and 2015 to adopt EHR, while receiving up to $44,000-$64,000 in federal incentive payments. Advisory services company Avalere concluded in a recent review that, “absent a new leap of faith that new Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) provisions will increase their efficiency, up to half of physicians may perceive themselves better off financially by forgoing the HIT investment, and instead paying a penalty for non-compliance.”

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Another factor preventing adoption by practitioners would be that most EHR products are NOT interoperable as claimed, meaning licensees of different commercial systems - each using different proprietary formats - often find it difficult to exchange even basic health care information. Most EHRs are bloated with functions that are often turned off by practitioners, but drive up the costs of purchase, implementation and maintenance. ePatientHistory offers an affordable, yet functional alternative solution to EHRs.

In the past, it was enough for health IT to facilitate information exchange inside organizations, meaning the purchase of expensive proprietary software. But we now expect information to be sent and received seamlessly, independent of platform, including over the Internet. Most of the currently dominant EHR technologies don't even begin to get us there, but ePatientHistory positions a health care provider to make that transition by providing an easy method of capturing the all-important digital data histories directly from their patients. Without the ability to capture data electronically, archaic inefficient systems will never permit the eventual integration into local hospital systems or collaboration with other providers. Patients welcome the service, free to them, and appreciate the ability to complete lengthy health forms in the comfort of their own home vs. the doctor’s waiting room.

ePatientHistory simply uses a web-based application for online patient registration and entry of medical history data that fully complies with HIPAA security and privacy regulations. Data content is fully owned by practitioners, databases are backed up daily, and mirrored servers are used to eliminate Internet downtime issues. Additional features are customized for the practitioner’s individual needs. The ability to maintain digital databases for patient histories is essential to the future of every medical practice, but the real ROI is that a practice runs on time, patients are happy and well cared for, and practitioners are not overwhelmed with paperwork. ePatientHistory can help ensure these objectives at a reasonable cost.

EMG Productions, Inc. is an experienced web design/development and production studio offering a variety of online services to national clients for over 15 years. EMG specializes in creating affordable custom online services that meet the specific needs of their clients, which include rich media, data capture, product/service presentation, video production, and web design.

Written by Pamela Alford, President
Pamela (at) epatienthistory.com
EMG Productions, Inc.