Survey: EHR use cuts into patient time, likely reducing revenue in small practices

Practice Management

Researchers studied the impact of EHRs on small physician practices, according to Perspectives in Health Information Management.

The study involved 15 expert panelists who participated in three rounds of surveys with the initial question, "How do you believe the implementation of an electronic health record system would affect the management of small physician practices? Consider the entire practice operations, including but not limited to the patients, the physicians, and the financial implications to the practice."


The panelists met the following criteria:


• U.S. physician in a practice of one to four physicians
• Five plus years at small practice
• At least one year of certified-EHR experience
• Must be decision maker in practice


Researchers used a Delphi research design to study the impact of adopting an EHR on revenue, unintended costs or savings as well as patient encounter changes.


Here are four insights:


1. The panelists came to a consensus that "EHRs would reduce the number of patients seen per day, thereby reducing their revenue."


2. Panelists' greatest concern of EHR adoption was the negative impact of face-to-face time with patients.


3. Further, the panelists believed using EHRs would hurt the focus on the patient, and may result in overlooked medical conditions.


4. Researchers concluded EHR vendors should consider teaching physicians how to optimize EHRs. Additionally, vendors should consider showcasing financial success stories in practices due to EHR use.


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