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EHR Gains Beyond Meaningful Use
Although meaningful use incentives are one of the main motivators behind EHR adoption, there is more to digital charting solutions besides stimulus dollars. From increasing practice productivity to fostering patient engagement, electronic health record systems have many long-term benefits that will continue to pay off even after federal money dries out.
Cost Savings: Though EHR software is oft-touted for reducing office expenses, many physicians are keen to point out that EHRs merely replace filing and transcription costs with fees related to software licensing and system upkeep. While it is true that EHR systems come with their own set of expenses, they are typically inexpensive and physicians end up seeing a return on their investment. To conduct a cost-benefit analysis before purchasing an EHR, physicians will want to use an EHR ROI calculator.
Care Coordination: The healthcare industry is moving toward more patient-centered care, meaning that physicians need tools that allow them to work in collaboration with their patients’ other caregivers. EHR software closes the communication gap among providers. It fosters care coordination and allows for the delivery of more comprehensive care. EHR software also reduces cost of care, as physicians with access to shared data are less likely to order duplicate tests or studies.
Patient Outcomes: Improvements in care coordination can lead to better quality of care and better patient health overall. When physicians work together to manage their patients’ conditions, there is a greater likelihood that the patient’s condition will improve.
In order to take advantage of these EHR benefits, physicians will need to make sure that their purchasing decisions and training sessions are not focused solely on meaningful use.