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Electronic medical record adoption marches on. Hospitals and practices are steadily converting to paperless systems, taking advantage of available CMS incentives.
But a recent study by marketing firm SK&A shows that smaller practices are adopting at a slower rate than larger offices: 76% of practices with 26 or more physicians have made the switch, while solo practices are at 30.8%, and 51% of practices with three to five physicians have gone paperless. Reasons vary, from uncertainty about meaningful use to cost restrictions, and even skepticism on the benefits. SK&A spokesman Jacob Schember told AMED News that physicians wonder, "Is there a payoff in efficiency? Is there a payoff in terms of better patient services? What's the analysis of this cost versus the benefit?" Understanding and enrolling in CMS incentive programs can help offset costs of EMR adoption. Eligible Medicare physicians can receive up to $44,000 over five years, while Medicaid physicians can get up to $63,750 over six years. More details can be found here.
Physicians also balk at potential legal issues. Security breaches and stolen information can leave physicians open to legal action. Data may not have been properly encrypted, or patients may not have been properly informed of breaches or theft according to state laws. Or litigation could be possible simply from improperly-entered data. Tips on how to keep EMR data safe can be found here.