EHR a Money-Loser for Most Physicians

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , March 5, 2013

She says small practices should look for help from their regional IT extension centers, or even consider some sort of joint venture or cooperative with a larger healthcare entity.

"To the extent that that is palatable to a practice there is a lot of advantage to working with a larger organization that can bring down the cost and help with a lot of the other changes that need to go along with EHR adoption to make it easier on small practices," she says. "This is not to say it is not doable for small practices. But it's a much harder road and going into it with that awareness and taking the time to figure out the best approach is what I would spend my time doing."

While she considers herself an advocate for EHR, Adler-Milstein says she is fearful that the findings in the study will be used by critics to call the movement a failure.

"The real struggle we are in now is around how these systems were sold—as a magic wand and not as a tool," she says. "They are not a magic wand. You don't put them in and the next day you see higher-quality lower-cost care. The reality is there is a lot of hard work that has to go into seeing the benefits. In small practices they need help and support to do that hard work."

"For me it's nice to have evidence to point to what we need to do differently to realize the benefits. And I hope that is the attitude that others will share—which is we need to figure out how to do this right."

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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5 comments on "EHR a Money-Loser for Most Physicians"

Dinesh Patel MD (3/8/2013 at 2:15 PM)
The basic benefit from EHR is health, welfare and safety of patients we love together with improved quality, reduction of redundancy and cost . This thought certainly is well known but in order to achieve there are many factors apart from EHR cost Participation of patients , infrastructure IT management and willingness of empowered people to listen from actual practitioners and keep the necessary element in meaningful use and not force folks such as-specialist to spend time in core and menu items [INVALID] may create error or omissions The thought that senior doctors can not type as good as young ones and that is an obstacle is myth. Who says they have to type They h ave to enter data EHR is wonderful tool and that will be quite a joy when you give visit summary report to patient end of visit and go over No better doctor patient relationships Do it as it s not EHR but it is the environment of providing art of healing to hurt from regulations ,consumers and politicians mistrust and compensation below the par looking at the life and death decisions health care providers make for the good of children's disabled elderly women and uninsured Sequestrations has been going on in health care and will continue so fight the challenge as health of the nation will improve by providing good care Best Debate and make impact Dinesh

civisisus (3/5/2013 at 11:14 AM)
substitute "office lighting", or "carpeting" or even "suture" or "tongue depressor" for "EHR", and the story reads the same. Grow some brain cells; In capable hands, EHR is a tool. In fact, unlike those other, humbler tools, EHR has the potential to be a more useful tool, the more that other physicians capably use it as well. That most physicians or physician groups do not yet have capable hands does not change that fact.

Tyco Brahe (3/5/2013 at 10:20 AM)
The US is very early in EHR adoption. It's premature to consider the steep learning curve as part of the reason EHR may make physicians lose money at first. Later, EHRs will allow physicians to code better and to help with malpractice claims. Overall, the entire health system will benefit because EHRs improve care coordination and prevent duplication. Certainly, however, physicians may lose money because they won't order tests and scans that another doctor ordered before them[INVALID]but you can't blame EHR for that. American healthcare has to move forward and not remain in the paper chart dark ages.




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