EHRs Don’t Save Money Cycle

I love the cycle that happens over and over and over again in the healthcare IT/EMR media coverage. Every 3-6 months a new study or article comes out that says that EHR Don’t Save Money. Here’s the one that I just got in my e-mail. At least this one talks about the short term issues, but leaves open the possibility of long term benefits.

Don’t worry though, in the next 3-6 months another study and/or article will be out talking about the amazing benefits of EHR software.

Let’s just cut through the crap for a second and really hit at the core of the issue.

Some clinics have implemented an EMR and seen Amazing benefits (see great EMR ROI).

Some clinics have implemented an EMR and seen little benefit.

Some clinics have implemented (or should I say tried to implement) an EMR and actually gotten screwed.

Every one of those cases has happened. So, if you want me to do a study or article on either side of the issue, it’s really not that hard to do. Just look around and you’ll find all of the above scenarios.

Of course the new voice I hear is that it doesn’t matter. EHR is no longer a choice. The only choice is exactly when, which and how you’re going to implement an EHR. So, that leads to what we really should be talking about…

How do clinics make sure they find themselves in the “Amazing Benefits” group?

P.S. Excuse my use of “crap” and “screwed” all in the same blog post. I just paid my taxes and I think I’m still recovering from it.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • It reminds me of the days of early Disease Management when we went out and promised a flat 30% ROI when in fact today we can’t even prove a 1-2% ROI. That doesn’t say, though, that these programs weren’t beneficial with health outcomes and potential decreasing effects of disease through availability of the right treatment. It means although we knew it was the right thing to do from a clinical standpoint, we couldn’t prove these dynamics showed short or long term financial benefits on the whole. Same with wellness, astute assumptions but speculative ROI.
    We all know we need integreation of systems that show optimize information sharing to impact health outcomes. It is early on in that strategy for healthcare and there are many variables why some can show financial benefits and some can’t.
    I think we need to look at what we are looking at for the end result though, Is cost reduction the primary goal or better health service? Cost impact should be the result of better integration and optimized healthcare. I would challenge too that some who are not seeing the great benefits they expected may not be looking at their needs first before jumping into an EHR product that is not accomodating to what they defined as success within their organization. The flip side of the coin is know your vendor before you purchase.
    I will reiterate, EHR is an infant. It is not the be all or get all right now. It, by itself, will not solve all of healthcare’s issues so get real. It is a tool in the journey to reform our health system which is an ongoing quest. Enough said.

  • Geri,
    Really interesting comparison. Your advice about those not seeing the great benefits is dead on and same with the concept of knowing your EMR vendor before you purchase. In fact, I cover both of those concepts in depth in my EMR selection e-Book (shameless plug) since I think they’re so important.

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