Too Soon to Tell If EHRs Provide Good ROI

Marla Durben Hirsch | Fierce Healthcare | July 20, 2016

There’s been a lot of hoopla about the role of electronic health records in patient safety, Meaningful Use, data sharing and security. But the elephant in the room is always "do EHRs provide a good return on investment? Will EHR users make more money?" It seems, based on recent research, that the answer might be yes.

First, there’s the study that EHRs are adept at increasing a provider’s charge capture. By using their EHR’s automation and enhanced coding capability, pediatric primary care physicians saw an $11.49 increase on average, per-patient collections and an $11.09 increase on average, per-patient charges, as well as an improvement in collection ratios. The researchers determined that the increases were due to more orders for ancillary services, improved documentation, forced completion of records and reduced coding errors. They concluded that the investment in EHRs would be recouped.

Then there’s the study on scribes. The small study focused on the growth in using scribes, whether the use was a positive experience and whether, as a workaround, they hinder the industry from improving EHR design and eliminating the need for scribes in the first place. But the authors also pointed out that scribes created more detailed documentation, and that they became documentation experts, enabling the physicians to increase their billings and reimbursement...