EMR and Doctor Liability Insurance Discounts

A source just told me that an insurance company that does only professional liability insurance for doctors is providing a 5% discount to all doctors who implement EHR and use it in a meaningful manner.

This is really interesting news for me since I’ve seen a number of really interesting debates about whether use of an EHR would actually raise liability insurance for doctors or lower it. This is the first confirmed company I’ve found that has actually acted on a doctors use of an EMR in their liability insurance premiums (of course, maybe there are more I don’t know about).

Of course, there are a lot of details missing in the statement posted above. For example, how does the liability insurance company plan to measure if the doctor is using an EMR in a “meaningful manner”? Will they discriminate (not in a bad way, but in a good business way) against EMR software which isn’t up to snuff?

Lots of other issues that could be talked about, but I’m heading to the Digital Health Summit at CES. So, this should start a really interesting discussion and I’m sure I’ll do some follow up posts on this subject since I have plenty to say about it.

Also, looks like I’ll have to add liability insurance savings to my list of EMR benefits. I’m thinking it’s about time to do a series of posts on the “EMR Benefits.” One EMR benefit post a day would start a really interesting set of discussions I think.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of HealthcareScene.com, 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, EXPO.health, 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.


  • Thanks John; yes; this is the first step in Actuarians pricing risk premiums based on changes in the industry; they are (rightfully so) assuming that using of any half decent EHR system is better than the centuries old paper driven system; and they have taken into account the ability of EHRs to capture all the auditable trails with time and date stamp; of course other than the visible benefits such as Clinical Decision Support Systems including ePrescription, etc.
    Insurance companies are convinced that there is a valid reason for reduction in premiums and they are prepared to start off with the basic 5% reduction. Based on experience, the Actuarians will need more data to determine the level of risk mitigation leading to reduction in risk premiums; all these take time including how they decide on the practical and meaningful use of EHR. Probably to start with they may use provide the discount to practices using a certified EHR, moving on to the ‘meaningful use’ as approved by CMS through the incentives application and 90 day use and so on.
    Like anything else there has to be a start and I believe its a good start; a 5% reduction is almost equivalent to years worth of monthly subscription not to mention other benefits.
    I am keeping it very simple; there could be nuances involved. But this is a benefit not to be ignored.

  • I’ve long thought that liability premiums should go down for using an EMR. It’s directly in the interest of these companies to do this if for no other reason then an EMR with a structured record will present a far better patient picture — and more defensible one — than a paper one.

  • I think Anthony and Carl are overly optimistic about “meaningful use.” CCHIT was never intended to lower the risk of a malpractice suits. I think recent studies clearly show that meaningful use criteria benefit HIT stakeholders who devise them, not doctors and patients.

  • D. Kellus Pruitt,
    They might be, but my post references a company who’s putting their money on the fact that use of an EHR should mean lower malpractice. It will be interesting to see how that plays out long term.

    I do think that they won’t be looking at meaningful use and CCHIT long term for their metrics. Instead, they’ll use some more meaningful measure of EMR use.

  • I think you’re right, John. Ultimately the more meaningful measure of EMR use will probably involve cookbook defensive medicine and probing subpoenas.

  • Dr Pruitt, my understanding is that the Insurance Industry recognizes that the use of an auditable system with Clinical Decision Support Systems, even as simple as ePrescription and ability for the system to do the ‘Risk Analysis’ should reduce their business risks to a certain degree. They are proceeding with this assumption; and as we know over time, Actuarians will come up with metrics to measure such change in Risks.
    I agree with John, the Insurance Companies will come up with their own yard sticks and till such time MU is a stop gap measure I guess.

  • Can you please tell what type of liability insurance discounts might be available to physicians who use prescription drugs in office, that are dispensed by PCAB accredited pharmacies?

    Thank you,

    S. Sabino

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