Why Most Electronic Medical Records Software At Lazy Physicians Practices?
Many Medicare physicians will implement electronic health record (EHR) systems by 2012 in order to qualify for the maximum payments from the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act Medicare EHR incentive program.
Medicaid physicians don’t have the same sense of urgency – they can wait until 2016 to begin electronic health record adoption. They can still qualify for the maximum EHR incentive payments of $63,750.
Who are the early EHR / EMR software adopters?
Smaller practices outpacing larger practices in EHR software adoption
With the federal government’s push for electronic health record (EHR) software adoption, a large group practice with many practicing physicians and resources would seemingly be an ideal fit. However, smaller practices — ones with one or two providers — are actually the fastest-growing medical facilities adopting EHR software, according to a study by SK&A.
The study, “Physician Office Usage of Electronic Heath Records Software,” found that small and solo practices are outpacing group practices in EHR software adoption for the first time in two years. In the second half of 2011, the study says, single-provider practices increased adoption by 6 percentage points (30.8% to 36.9). Additionally, adoption among practices with six to 10 providers increased only 2 percentage points (63% to 65%)
One element to consider as well is practice ownership. Whether a practice is owned by hospital or health system plays a role. In fact, practices owned by hospitals had higher adoption rates versus those not affiliated and owned by a hospital (59.5% to 64.2%).
David Escalante, vice president/general manager of SK&A, said that the federal government’s reimbursements for demonstrating meaningful use goes a long way for small practices, adding that EHR software vendors continue to “promote aggressively to the small-office market,” according to a SK&A press release.
While this is welcoming news for smaller practices that wish to adopt EHR software, will this trend continue or is it an aberration? After all, it was the first time in two years. Regardless, one of the factors that can influence EHR software adoption rates is the role of regional extension centers (RECs), which were not mentioned in the study’s findings.
Under the HITECH Act, RECs were formed to aid smaller practices — especially those in underserved areas and those with 10 or fewer providers — in EHR adoption and implementation. If RECs continue to show promise, smaller practices could continue to outpace larger practices.
Did you see anything about lazy physicians?
Physicians are not really lazy. So use of that term may be a bit of a stretch. But the physicians affiliated with the large hospitals can take the easy way out. These are the ones we’re calling lazy.
The larger hospitals and hospital systems have usually made electronic medical record software selections. Hospitals need to attest to meeting meaningful use CMS criteria in order to qualify for the EHR incentive program. Hospital that qualify get money from the government!
One of their criteria is the ability to exchange information. So, if they get the hospitalists and other physicians affiliated with them on the same software, their Health Information Exchange (HIE) task will be easier.
So, the hospital generally pushes their chosen electronic health record system onto their physicians. And the “lazy” private practice physicians are eager to go along with the program.
Why should these physicians concern themselves with software selection? That takes time. And the bigger problem for the doctors or their designated office managers is to educate themselves on technology and other non-medical issues.
The “lazy” doctors don’t have to deal with consultants who are offering their EHR /EMR software selection and implementation services. Implementing electronic medical records is simple. The EHR software selection part is already decided for them. The hospital is happy. The physician is happy.
The “lazy” physicians take the easy path to getting incentive money from CMS. In some cases the hospital offers incentive for adoption of the same EHR software. Private insurance payers may begin requiring electronic medical records adoption. To sweeten the pot, the insurers may even be offering incentives as well.
The “lazy” physicians win the race. The quickest path to cash may be electronic medical records software !
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