EMR ROI Session at HIMSS

Posted on March 9, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

On Thursday at HIMSS I attended a session called “Implementing and Measuring EMR ROI in the Specialty Practice” by Peter M. Deane, MD. This was the second such session that I attended. I was and am really interested in how practices are measuring the ROI in their clinic.

I found this second session really interesting since Dr. Deane talked about the benefits he received from his EMR and yet, he still wasn’t doing his clinical notes electronically. Yes, it felt a little bit wrong to say that he uses an EMR when he isn’t writing his clinical notes electronically yet. However, what I found really interesting was that he was starting to see a whole laundry lists of benefits from his EMR even though he was only partially implemented.

Honestly, I think that understanding the real benefits of an EMR in your practice is one of the keys to selecting and implementing an EMR. In fact, that’s why I have a whole section talking about the guaranteed, possible and dubious benefits of an EMR implementation in my just released EMR selection book.

Back to the session, Dr. Deane had an interesting point about paper charts. In his slide it said, “Documentation is easy–to do poorly.” This is an interesting point, because I’ve found that EMR doesn’t necessarily take a doctor who is poor at documenting and make them better. However, what an EMR does do is hold people more accountable for what their documenting.

Another key point that was offered in this session was in regards to the EMR selection process, “Decide: None is perfect, nor will the vendors ever by ‘ready’ for some.” I couldn’t agree more. Setting reasonable expectations is key to any successful EMR implementation. Go in with unreasonable expectations and you’re doomed for failure. That doesn’t mean you can’t be ambitious, but you can be reasonable at the same time.

I also loved how Dr. Deane talked about the different types of leadership models in practices. He called them: “Command and control model (large institutional or central tyranny-style practices)” or “Consensus model (fraternity-style practice).” Understanding this dynamic is really important as you work to gain buy in for your EMR implementation.

Another interesting insight he made was that people Fear Change. Ok, that’s not new. However, he clarified that “change means extra work” and “they also fear being left behind.” This is interesting advice during an EMR implementation. I guess the point being that pace of an EMR implementation matters.

Dr. Deane also talked about the value of your EMR vendor customizing the EMR for you. I’ve seen the value of this first hand. It really does empower staff for your EMR vendor to do something for your office. Plus, it’s a real benefit to be able to point to those changes as your EMR progresses. Remember that EMR is a journey and not a one time event.

Here’s a list of other EMR benefits he highlighted:
-3 clerical positions ($70k per year)
-Supplies and less printing ($3,500 per year)
-Enhanced Reimbursement
-Faster A/R turnover time
-PQRI Incentives

Not a bad session. Too bad it was on Thursday just before the closing keynote, so many at HIMSS had already gone home. Lucky for you, I stayed and could summarize it for you here;-)