27-41 of 50 Reasons to get an EHR or EMR – Greater Efficiency and Lower Costs

Posted on July 5, 2006 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.

I should really thank Medical Economics for creating the original 50 reasons to get an EMR or EHR. It is a great list to work off. Someone put in a lot of work to put this together. Thank you.

In this post, Ill cover reasons number 14-26 to implement an EHR or EMR. These reasons talk about greater efficiency and lower costs because of an EMR.

Greater Efficiency

27. Review a summary of the patient’s health information at a glance instead of flipping through pages.

28. Stay on top of your work with an electronic to-do list that includes incoming lab, radiology, and pathology reports as well as in-office messages and telephone calls.

29. Reduce phone tag: When patients call, answer their questions immediately instead of pulling the paper chart and calling them back.

30. Produce referral letters, school and work excuses, and other documents with a few clicks.

31. Send messages to your nurse without leaving the exam room or hollering down the hallway.

32. Reduce staff downtime at the copy machine: When you need to share records with someone, transmit them electronically.

33. Automate the way you report childhood immunizations to state-mandated registries.

34. Order lab tests and diagnostic imaging with a few mouse clicks.

35. Get claims out the door faster by sending encounter information, including diagnostic and CPT codes, straight to your practice-management software.

This list of efficiencies have to be some of the best reasons on the list. The ability to quickly access, create and communicate data is what EMR’s are all about. This list summarizes well a number of good efficiencies that can be gained.

My major problem with this list is that these reasons describe the ideal EMR system. Not all EMR systems have built in messaging and to do lists. Plus, just because an EMR program has these features doesn’t mean that it is the most effective way to handle things. How many times have you used your to do list that come with many email programs? I know I haven’t. Also, sometimes the yell down the hall is more effective than electronic orders. I think the lab orders is a great example if you have an in house lab like we do. I guess I’m just suggesting to take this list with a grain of salt. A lot of this depends on your EMR system and your implementation of it.

I also think that this list should have something about the efficiencies of charting that are gained. I think it’s covered elsewhere, but it would fit well here too.

Lower Costs

36. Save $10,000 or more per doctor per year on dictation and transcription costs.

37. Eliminate positions for file clerks and transcriptionists.

38. Save several thousand dollars a year on paper-chart supplies.

39. Download ECG readings directly into the patient chart and save even more on paper.

40. Spend less on postage by transmitting charts electronically.

41. Build a satellite office without a file room.

Transcription costs are a great way to save money. However, that assumes you currently use transcription services.

I personally haven’t found a descrease in file clerks and trascriptionists. There is still a lot of scanning and other things that must be done with medical records.

The savings on paper chart supplies can be a huge benefit. Add in the good green feelings you get for saving trees and you have something of great value.

I didn’t know that ECG paper was so expensive. It doesn’t seem like that paper would be that great of a savings. However, if you apply this same principle to a nice lab interface then you have some real savings. It amazes me how many labs are done and how much paper adds up with all the lab results. Doing that electronically is an excellent way to save money.

Postage savings won’t be a benefit until their is a standard for transmitting charts electronically. You could possibly fax a chart to someone from your EMR. Otherwise, there is no good way to transfer the chart electronically and save on postage at this point.

Not only does your satellite office not need a file room, but if you do an EMR properly then you don’t need a file room in your main office either. I implemented a new doctors office recently and he doesn’t even have a file area in his office. There was no need for it. Too bad he only gave me about 2 weeks to implement everything. Either way, he’s good to go now. No paper charts anywhere. I better check and make sure he’s doing his backup properly.

There you go. 15 more reasons to get an EHR or EMR.

Here’s the other reasons I’ve commented on so far on my way to 50 Reasons to Implement an EMR or EHR:
13 reasons to get an EHR or EMR
12 reasons to get an EHR or EMR