Study: Doctors Favor Integrated EMR, Practice Management System

While large institutions may not be jumping onto cloud-based technologies — or admitting it, in any event — the majority of doctors in a new Black Book survey are gung-ho on cloud solutions to their revenue cycle management dilemmas, according to a new piece in Healthcare IT News.

A new Black Book study, “Top Physician Practice Management & Revenue Cycle Management: Ambulatory EHR Vendors,” surveyed more than 8,000 CFOs, CIOs, administrators and support staff for hospitals and medical practices.

The research has concluded that 87 percent of all medical practices agree that their billing and collections systems need to be upgraded, HIN reports. And the majority of those physicians are in favor of moving to an integrated practice management, EMR and medical software product, Black Book concluded.

According to Black Book rankings, the revenue cycle management software and services industry just crossed the $12 billion mark, pushed up by reimbursement and payment reforms, accountable care trends, ICD-10 and declining revenues.

Forty-two percent of doctors surveyed said that they’re thinking about upgrading their RCM software within the next six to 12 months. And 92 percent of those seeking an RCM practice management upgrade are only planning to consider an app that includes an EMR, Healthcare IT News said.

It’s no coincidence that  doctors are trading up on financial tools. Doctors are playing catch-up financially in a big way, with 72 percent of  practices reporting that they anticipate declining to negative profitability in 2014 due to inefficient billing and records technology as well as diminishing reimbursements. (On the other hand, it’s not clear why doctors aren’t still seeking best-of-breed on both the EMR and PM side.)

While selecting an integrated PM/EMR system may work well for practices, it’s going to impose problems of its own, including but not limited to finding a system in which both sides are a tight fit with practice needs. It will be interesting to see whether doctors actually follow through with their PM/EMR buying plans once they dig in deep and really study their options.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

7 Comments

  • Reality: Most docs think an EHR included a PM these days.

    What would really be an interesting report is to test the Top PM systems as to their efficiency.

    Which system does the best in billing and collecting?

    I would guess a specialized PM would do better, while there may be some integration problems.

    Docs want simplicity right now, especially after going through their poorly planned EHR implementations.

  • John,

    We wrote what was probably THE first integrated PM/EMR for LAN/Windows in the early 1990’s.

    Features we had back then are often touted today (20 years later) by HIT vendors as “groundbreaking”. 🙂

    We are doing the same now for the cloud wave. Interesting that we have come full circle from timeshare to LAN and back again, but we call it the cloud.

    The obvious BIG differences this time around.

    – The feature set and specs are essentially set.

    – Software is no longer hand coded line-by-line.
    What took 2 weeks 20 years ago, now takes 2 hours, or less.

  • @ AXEO – I agree the move from mainframe to client/server to mainframe is a cycle. Right now the mainframe (cloud) portion of the cycle.

    Will be interesting to see how long this cycle is.

    Yes code can now be written more quickly, but that doesn’t mean it is done nor does it mean it is done well.

    Most vendors I’ve dealt with will be glad to take your input, then place it on their list to review in the future.

    And just because code can be written quickly doesn’t mean to alter things for MU wouldn’t cause a domino effect that would require a lot longer re-write period.

  • “And just because code can be written quickly doesn’t mean to alter things for MU wouldn’t cause a domino effect that would require a lot longer re-write period.”

    I agree — that is for the legacy systems and HIT teams that are unable to refactor at the pace of MU.

    Unfortunately (unless you are a legacy shareholder), MU had the un-intended consequence of cementing many of the dinosaur systems that the relatively free market would not adopt before HITECH/ARRA.

    Hopefully, it was un-intended. 🙂

  • “MU had the un-intended consequence of cementing many of the dinosaur systems that the relatively free market would not adopt before HITECH/ARRA.”

    Great way to describe it. I had to tweet it.

  • “Yes code can now be written more quickly, but that doesn’t mean it is done nor does it mean it is done well.”

    IMO, not only is it done well, it is done much better. Nobody wants to lay bricks by hand, one-by-one. Nobody can do it well and nobody wants to pay for that sort of craftsmanship.

    Today’s software frameworks “generate” much of the code with consistent quality and standards.

    This plumbing so to speak, was hand-coded not that long ago. Expensive and time consuming to write, expensive to test, tedious to write, and often riddled with bugs at the layer where bugs can cause big problems.

    PM and EMR are still essentially “forms over data” apps and there are MANY bricks — ideal for today’s frameworks. To the extent the forms over data UI/UX works at the point-of-care is a debate that still rages.

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