Friday, July 13, 2007

EMRs Quickly Pay for Themselves, Study Finds

Electronic health record systems quickly create enough cost reductions to pay for the cost of the systems, according to a study published in the July issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, HealthDay News/Forbes reports.

The authors analyzed the return on investment of EMR systems at five physician offices representing 28 health care providers, comparing the costs of tasks such as pulling patient charts and data transcription before and after the medical software was installed.

What did they find? Using EHRs reduced costs by almost $400,000 per year, and nearly all of the savings were associated with reducing the amount of time for manually pulling charts. The initial investment was recouped within the first 16 months.

"Health care providers most frequently cite cost as a primary obstacle to adopting an [EHR] system," the authors wrote. "Until this point, evidence supporting a positive return on investment for [EHR] technologies has been largely anecdotal."

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