The Prohibitive Cost of Electronic Medical Records

The use of electronic medical records has been touted as an enormous economic benefit in terms of cost savings as well as a boon to increasing patient safety. So why aren’t more doctors using them?

Although many doctors employed by larger medical entities are making use of EMRs because the costs of implementing the system are covered, smaller practices with few doctors are unable to afford the $5,000-$50,000 start-up costs, not to mention the approximately $1,000-a-month maintenance fee.

There is also the issue of time lost and decreased productivity during the implementation of the system. It takes a lot of time to enter data on each individual patient into the system. Once the system is fully functional, doctors report that much of their time is still eaten up during clinic visits entering data into the system.

While larger medical centers are willing to pay these costs and train staff to use them, it is just not feasible for smaller practices with fewer resources. Additionally, there is little incentive from the government and insurance companies, although they receive most of the benefit from the use of EMRs.

Another reason for doctors’ worries are that there are many different models of EMRs, some of which are not compatible with each other and are unable to share the very information they were designed for.

So what can be done to encourage smaller practices to purchase an EMR system? Very few doctors report receiving financial subsidies to help mitigate the cost of implementing the system, according to a Texas Medical Association survey. If these systems will save the amount of money that they are predicted to and save as many lives as the companies who make them claim they can do, perhaps the government needs to help smaller practices implement these systems by paying for a substantial amount of the start-up costs.

1 comment to The Prohibitive Cost of Electronic Medical Records

  • Medical records and even immunization records can give you, and various types of medical professionals, an accurate snapshot of your medical history. These records hold important information that is directly related to the medical history of your family. You will be able to discover information about your physical and mental health, and will be able to appropriately paint a picture of which you are health wise to the medical professionals that you may come in contact with throughout your life.

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