The views on EMR usability vary significantly from one physician to another. A number of physicians today think of cost and productivity benefits from an EMR, as myths. Some physicians feel that instead of improving efficiency, an EMR slows down their practice workflow and does not yield any cost benefits. Whereas on the flip side, many providers have reported that utilizing an EMR system helps control costs and increase productivity.
This disparity can be attributed to two key factors, the first of which is being unable to find the right fit. However this factor has been explored in detail by many technology pundits and thus does not require much elaboration. The key is to find an EMR solution that adapts to the existing workflows of the practice as well as help providers in meeting their various clinical, administrative and even financial objectives.
The other factor is meaningful use. Many physicians believe that benefits will accrue automatically once the EMR implementation is complete. EMR is just a facilitator and the benefits are limited to how the user chooses to utilize the application. A physician that utilizes an EMR solution to simply record medical information may not be able to drive the same benefits, when compared with a physician that utilizes data mining to optimize care of patients with certain medical situations.
“It is about your mind set really. If one believes that it works, then one tries to go the extra mile to make it work.” says a New Jersey based Practice Manager.
The meaningful use program was devised by the CMS to help providers get a feel of the real capabilities of EMR. The first stage of the program was designed to introduce EMR usability along with the built-in features that help enhance productivity and improving care quality. The government believes that there are benefits to be driven from wider EMR adoption and that is the reason that it has set up the incentive program for adoption and meaningful utilization of EMR solutions.
There are multiple case studies where practices and large hospital organizations have been able to gauge the change in performance after utilizing an EMR. In most cases, even practices have been able to quantify the positive impact of deploying an EHR solution in terms of time saved, patients treated per working day and the changes in amount of re-admittance. Only physicians that align their organizational objectives during the EMR implementation phase are able to derive the utmost clinical, administrative and financial benefits from their solution.