Healthcare Management: the EHR Cost Dilemma
“More interoperability, more upgrades, more plug-ins, more costs”
That’s what Forbes says about EHR costs in the future; more, more, more. The reason is simple. There is now not one existing end-to-end EHR that fully meets needs of providers, facilities and patients.
The cost of healthcare continues to rise despite efforts to contain these costs. But the reality is that more and more IT cost will consume much of the future planning budgets of healthcare. But the real question is once all that money is spent, will we be any closer to functional and secure interoperability than we are now?
Amidst all the issues surrounding interoperability; software propriety is close to the top. We really do expect competing software companies, for the sake of healthcare savings, to share their code with each other. And please don’t even tell me you don’t have to do that to achieve secure bi-directional communication. I’m wondering if the cost of getting there is really more than all the duplication of testing that is performed, and will this really result in healthcare savings? Since it hasn’t been done before, what evidence is there to suggest that this effort will truly bring about better healthcare at a reduced cost?
“Whenever you’ve received inadequate care, what was the root cause? Was it (1) because your doctor couldn’t access a medical record that was in some other doctor’s office? Was it (2) because your doctor did not have access to the clinical knowledge that would have led to accurate diagnosis and/or effective treatment? Or was it (3) because medical science, itself, just does not know enough?” -Joe Weber, CEO, Narratek.
Hmmm….now there’s a good question, and what do you suppose is the least probable answer? It’s number 1 of course.
Ironically, the use of EHRs seems to slow down physician’s productivity, not speed it up. Yes, there is not only the “learning curve” with the product, but also the workflow must change, the office structure must change, and the function of several people in the office must change if physicians are to really reap the benefit that the EHR might bring them. And most practices buy a product, plug it in and get totally frustrated because they haven’t been trained on what really needs to happen for it and the physician to work efficiently and productively. This is hardly ever the practices fault. The training offered is on the product, not necessarily on the impact to whole practice.
Will we continue to throw money at this difficult problem until we know for sure it will buy the cure?
While the answer does not lie with any one company, a proper solution to help alleviate cost and frustration can be achieved. Medical Management Services specializes in healthcare consulting and can help pair your practice with the right EHR and train the staff to efficiently use the services it offers. If you would like to speak with one of our consultants about how we can benefit you and your practice, give us a call, email, or fill out a form. As in the spirit of the GEICO commercials, 30 minutes could save you loads of time and money. It would not be a waste of time and its FREE.