Apparently, some primary care physicians are optimistic about the financial impact EMRs will have on their practice, according to a new survey.
Vendor Hello Health recently completed a survey of 100 practicing physicians without EMRs to discuss their attitudes about key business issues. Not surprisingly, 37 percent of respondents said EMR adoption was their number one challenge at present; an equal percentage said that financial issues were their biggest worry.
Here’s what, to me, is the most interesting part of the study. Among doctors for whom practice financial health was a primary concern, 51 percent felt that implementing an EMR would help solve their problems.
Their theory was that EMRs would help by improving coding and documentation to substantiate claims, as well as improving efficiencies and reducing costs.
Of doctors who didn’t think EMRs would help their financial situation, 46 percent felt that the systems would lead higher costs and overhead, and 15 percent felt productivity would decrease.
Now, I’m going to go all cynical on y’all.
I was pretty surprised to read that some doctors feel EMRs will actually improve their financial situation. Sure, improving coding and documentation itself is certainly a worthy financial goal. The thing is, that’s not exactly what EMRs are designed to deliver.
As for improved efficiencies and reduced costs, well, I don’t find that very credible at all. Not that some practices don’t achieve this goal, but if the respondents had anything near-term in mind they’re likely to be quite disappointed.
Realistically, if I wanted to invest in technology that improved my coding, I’d go with a computer-assisted coding or souped-up billing system. And I’d begin gunning my ICD-10 engines right away. Getting psyched about my pending EMR is nice, but probably setting oneself up for a letdown.