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EMR use could save up to $371 billion annually in the U.S., report says

A new study shows that EMR use could save hundreds of billions of dollars in unnecessary healthcare industry expenditures.

A new study shows that EMR use could save hundreds of billions of dollars in unnecessary healthcare industry expenditures.

Electronic medical records (EMR) are about improving data management, efficiency and productivity. Improvements in each of these areas lead to reduced costs, streamlined workflows and better patient care.

The end result is that medical practices can treat more patients more efficiently, thus becoming more sought-after by new patients and more profitable. Notice a trend? More of the good stuff – productivity and profit, less of the bad – mismanagement of information, unnecessarily high costs and poor patient care.

In a recent blog post for ITworld, Irfan Khan explored the significant financial advantages associated with EMRs and how they benefit other aspects of the healthcare system. Khan cites two studies that support his argument. One came from researchers at Michigan State University who showed that the average four-physician practice can save nearly $63,000 on an annual basis by implementing an EMR. More than $53,000 can be saved in transcription costs alone.

The other study he refers to, courtesy of global think tank RAND, says that proper EMR installation and use could save between $141 and $371 billion per year in the U.S. by reducing costs and eliminating unnecessary expenditures.

"Once health records are digitized, additional gains will come from applying basic IT best practices to them," Khan wrote. "That is, identifying business processes, using automated tools where possible, then collecting and analyzing the data to identify more processes where efficiency can be improved."

EMR consultants can help practices to integrate electronic records with comprehensive IT systems, potentially saving tens of thousands of dollars per physician per year. Embracing the latest medical IT innovations could make one of the largest impacts on the healthcare industry in recent memory.