Friday, September 14, 2007

Malpractice Insurance Carrier Announces Unusual Policy Credit for Physicians Using Electronic Medical Records

In an unusual and what appears to be unprecedented announcement by a medical malpractice carrier, Midwest Medical Insurance Company (MMIC) earlier this week announced it will offer a premium credit to any solo physician or physician group policyholder who implements and uses electronic medical records software. The credit begins January 1, 2008.

Why the special discount? According to a press release, the MMIC board of directors strongly believes that EMR software improves the quality of care through better patient safety. "As a physician-owned insurance company, our goal is to help our physicians reduce loss frequency and severity," their CEO said. "Offering the premium credit just makes good business sense."

We agree, as countless studies have shown electronic medical records software reduces errors and improves overall quality of care when the EMR is fully utilized.

To receive premium credits of 2% to 5%, a physician group must meet the following requirements:

* The EMR system must be certified by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT), the recognized certification authority for EMR systems.

* The physician group must have implemented or plan to implement the latest vendor updates for their system. (No old school EMR systems, please.)

* At least 75% of the physicians in the group must be using the EMR or EHR.

* The group must have been using the EMR or EHR for at least a year.

* The group must be using at least two of the six EMR's functions listed on the application.

What do you think about this announcement? Will a 2-5% discount on malpractice insurance encourage physicians to implement electronic medical records in their practice, or is this yet another plastic carrot promising to boost healthcare IT adoption rates? Share your comments.

Note that electronic health records are the same as electronic medical records here - we use them interchangeably.

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