There are many advantages of electronic medical records for physicians which tend to fall into one of three main categories: qualifying for federal incentive payments, workflow benefits, and administrative cost benefits.
Federally funded EHR incentive payments under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) are available for qualifying health care providers under either Medicare or Medicaid programs. All (Medicare) or the majority (Medicaid) of EHR incentive payments under either plan require “meaningful use” of an EMR system accredited by a proper certification authority. It’s important to note that there are several stages to meaningful use, all of which must be met for ongoing EHR incentive payments.
Once an EMR system is installed and staff are trained in its proper use, retrieving and updating patient clinical records is performed substantially faster and with fewer errors. In most cases, this allows health care providers to finish patient charting more quickly, and to do so while with the patient, increasing accuracy and completeness of the record. This efficiency can result in an increase in scheduled visits per hour with no degradation in patient care quality. Alternatively, by reducing the burden of administrative work, it allows a health care provider to concentrate more on the patient and less on paperwork.
Besides improving the delivery of health care to patients, another one of the benefits of electronic medical records integration is that it can reduce administrative and other related costs for physicians. Storage space dedicated to paper charts can essentially be eliminated once the transition to an an EMR system is complete. Likewise, staffing for filing and retrieval for a patient files and the need to purchase paper based supplies is substantially reduced or eliminated.
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