An examination of the financial feasibility of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs): a case study of tangible and intangible benefits
Simon SJ, Simon SJ. An examination of the financial feasibility of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs): a case study of tangible and intangible benefits . Int J Electron Healthc 2006; 2(2): 185-200.
Do the tangible and intangible benefits of EMRs make their adoption financially feasible for a medium-sized internal medicine specialty practice?
Data source: For the tangible benefits; NextGen Healthcare software pricing schedule, private/government reimbursement data for the Atlanta metro area, practice meeting/financial records of the Georgia Lung Association, and the hardware pricing from current vendor price list for the practice. For the intangible benefits: extensive review of the medical literature, California HealthCare Foundation, vendor promotional materials, and the Medical Record Institute. Patients, staff, and physicians were interviewed. Study subject and assessment: The Georgia Lung Association, the pulmonary/critical care practice of one of the authors, was selected as an example of a medium-sized, internal medicine specialty practice. Prior to adoption of an outpatient EMR, the practice undertook an extensive review of the medical literature and discussions to make the decision to use an EMR. The outpatient practice’s EMR adoption process was assessed. Using a study from the California HealthCare Foundation they identified 3 criteria for system selection. The criteria were functionality, usability, and support/costs. The barriers to adoption were identified. A business case model of the tangible and intangible benefits was developed. Financial and interview data was gathered after implementation and analyzed. Outcomes: Financial return and practice/patient satisfaction.
The review of the medical literature on EMR and extensive discussions within the practice led to the decision to adopt an EMR. The business case model for the chosen system (NextGen) projected a purely financial return on investment of 309% for the first year with payback in just fewer than 4 months. While most of the costs were one time during the first year, the tangible project savings (labor, supplies, transcription costs) would continue. Revenue flow was improved by improved accuracy/speed of claims submission and reduction of physician under billing for services. Other intangible benefits realized were increased information access/integration, increased patient time once the system was learned, and improved communications with referring physicians.
Adoption of an EMR can provide significant tangible and intangible returns for a medium-sized internal medicine specialty practice.
- Simon SJ, Simon SJ. An examination of the financial feasibility of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs): a case study of tangible and intangible benefits . Int J Electron Healthc 2006; 2(2): 185-200.