Considering EHR Systems in Terms of ROI

Healthcare organizations are always looking to take better care of their patients, but they are also concerned with making sure that their bottom line is in the black; if an organization is constantly hemorrhaging money, they won’t be able to provide the services their patients require, and they will eventually go under.

One of the ways in which healthcare organizations look to manage their finances is to weigh the expenditures they’re considering in terms of the potential ROI, or return on investment. If the long-term value of an expenditure is expected to outweigh the initial necessary cost — in terms of finances, efficiency, or both — then it is likely that the investment is worthwhile.

One of the investments that will usually result in a positive ROI for organizations that choose to adopt it is electronic health records, or EHR, systems.

EHRs allow physicians and their staff to upload patient data to a digital database, which stores all of a patient’s vital information (including diagnoses, treatments, risk factors, laboratory and radiology results, and more) and catalogs it for future use.

EHRs eliminate the need for bulky and inefficient paper records systems, saving both time and money in the long run. Healthcare organizations are sometimes hesitant to adopt new technology because of the initial cost, and EHRs are no exception.

The technology itself is costly, as it involves new software and sometimes new equipment; more importantly, employees must dedicate time and effort to learning the new system, which some feel would be better spent caring for patients. Some are simply hesitant to try a new system when they are experienced with another, which they feel works well for their needs.

However, if a healthcare organization was to view EHR systems in terms of the potential ROI, they would be likely to see the value of the system. Implementing the system is a big investment, to be sure, but its use can save an organization both time and money in the long run.

Paper records require a great deal of space, and often must be maintained for up to 7 years, which means that the organization must pay for additional physical storage — the ROI for this is nothing.

Also, paper records take a great deal of time to pull and refile, particularly if they are disorganized, and must be manually transferred to other practitioners, resulting in increased labor costs.

Medical errors sometimes result from information being misfiled, entered incorrectly, or illegible in paper records, and the cost of these errors can be astronomical. EHRs can help to eliminate all of these costs, resulting in a positive ROI for the program.

In addition, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is offering financial incentives for organizations which choose to adopt the technology, and penalizing those who choose not to, adding to the ROI of the EHR systems.

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OptimizeHIT drives clinical adoption, while preventing productivity lost during implementation. Our unique training software will connect physicians, support personnel and management real time; delivering objective data from which to evaluate the success of the implementation as well as delivering training to providers that is focused on their specific knowledge gaps.