Electronic medical records (EMR) systems are becoming more common throughout the United States, and clearly the federal government is in favor of them, as evidenced by the HITECH Act of 2009 and subsequent incentive programs.
The challenge that the medical industry now faces is figuring out ways to choose the right EMR solutions and how to get the most out of them. Think about it like one would approach watching television.
An 80-inch state of the art HDTV should deliver a superb viewing experience. But, unless you have HD service from your local cable or satellite provider, you'll be watching standard definition programming and the true potential of the TV itself will go unrealized. The point being, if you spend the money on something, you'll only get the proper value if you know how to put it to use.
The same principle holds true for physicians' practices and electronic medical records. The right configuration and managed IT support can make all the difference.
Medscape recently surveyed 21,202 physicians across 25 specialties to determine if they were using an EMR system and, if so, how satisfied they were with their current setup. The numbers are telling.
According to the survey, 82 percent of respondents are currently using or are in the process of implementing an EMR solution. However, of those already using such a system, 26 percent reported decreases in productivity while only 23 percent said their practices became more efficient after installation.
Every facility is different and any EMR consultant worth their salt will tell practice decision-makers that improved efficiency relies on choosing the right system, then properly installing and managing it. For smaller practices that don't have the necessary resources, outsourced IT support allows them to enjoy improved efficiency as well as federal incentives associated with EMR use.