Taken from the perspective of human development, the health IT industry has entered its teenage phase in which physicians have adopted Electronic Medical Record systems, but face difficulty in proper implementation and assimilating it in their practice workflow. Following are some barriers that physicians persistently face while using EMR.
High financial costs deter small practice physicians
The high initial cost of EMR implementation at a practice is a major hurdle in adopting the system. Combined with an uncertainty about profits or monetary benefits, physicians running small practices get reluctant to invest in technology. Studies have shown that implementation of electronic medical records in a small to medium sized practice may cost from $16,000 to $36,000 per physician.
Solution: Implementing an EMR system can be heavy on physicians’ pockets, but they can make it a profitable investment by changing their practice workflow according to the demands and functionality of the system. According to a research, physicians who have managed to successfully change their practice workflows and eliminate all paper-based processes have managed to earn $20,000 and more in benefits.
Another way small practices can cut down implementation costs is by adopting a cloud-based system. This way, physicians can access their records anywhere, while saving money and space for servers.
Consumes more time and effects patient satisfaction
During initial days of EMR implementation, physicians spent more time concentrating on learning the technology and recording patient data accurately. This consumes lot of their time, especially in the exam room, which may leave the patient feeling unattended or dissatisfied.
Solution: However, this problem can be solved by hiring an intern with excellent typing and computer skills, who can assist the physician in taking down patients’ data. Moreover, the staff should be trained in this technology so that the front desk staff records accurate demographic and insurance information of patients.
Lack of user-friendly technology
Researchers have found that most physicians would rely on word-of-mouth or go for the leading brand in the market to buy EMR for their practices. This does not guarantee a technology that will fulfill your practice demands and easy functionality.
Solution: Instead of battling with your EMR, go for the one that is easy to understand. The best way to avoid hassles of buying a difficult EMR is to research the market and get in touch with various vendors, test their software and then make a final decision.
Hurdles in electronic exchange of data
Most physicians have increased their workload in an attempt to save money. Your EMR will enable you to record clinical data of patients. However, billing and prescribing medication will still be carried out on paper, which disrupts the workflow of practices.
Solution: In order to make your workflow smooth and cut down on time, implement an integrated system – EMR and Practice Management – at your practice. While you can record patients’ clinical data with EMR, the PM will help your staff in billing process – enter accurate insurance information and ICD code, create and submit charge, and follow-up – which will reduce chances of medical error.
Change in attitude for successful EMR implementation
Advancement in health IT requires change in attitudes of physicians towards the use of technology. Although researchers come across physicians with a “can-do” attitude, who are ready to take up the challenge, but reservations about the future often hesitate them to take the first step.
Solution: Before taking the plunge, analyze your practice workflow, arrange your finances and other resources, and consult your staff and take them on board, and then adopt electronic medical record system for your practice. Keep your expectations realistic and most important, keep a backup plan.