Friday, March 21, 2014

Why Doctors Must Give in and Use EMRs

Admit it; you have a real interest in health care. Oh, you may be like most of the rest of Americans and not really care about the field or science of health care, but you probably do have a real interest in caring for your own health. Most of us do. Most of us, even if we don't show it by our actions and behaviors would like to be really healthy.

When we choose our physicians, most of us make that selection because of several factors. Among them might be these:

  • Whether the physician is "in network"
  • Whether we have a level of comfort with the physician
  • Whether we think the quality of care will be excellent
How do we know if the quality of care will be excellent? We generally don't, but we have our ways of thinking that we might know. We ask our friends and relatives. We might go to a site like Angie's List or to see what they say. 

Do you know what else is really important? According to a survey done jointly by Aeffect and 88 Brand Partners, 82% of patients believe that physicians who use electronic medical records (EMRs) provide better quality of care. (While I cannot find the actual complete survey results, you can see snippets here.)

To me, that is astounding. Many physicians that I know like EMRs, but perhaps just as many dislike them. They say that the EMRs cause physicians like them to have to spend extra time inputting a bunch of data. They say that they have to hire additional staff that increases their cost of providing care, but that insurers often provide them with nothing to compensate for this cost. But, according to the same survey, 44% of patients have a more positive impression of physicians that use EMRs (while I don't have the data, I am guessing that the number who say they have negative impressions is very small). 

While we are moving more to a value-based system, physicians still receive most of their compensation from seeing more patients. Other than scheduling on a much tighter basis and hoping that their schedules fill up, physicians can increase demand for their services. When they do that, their schedules will fill up and that will probably allow them to earn more income which most of them will view as a positive. 

So, the connection (perhaps pun intended) is that even for physicians who don't like them, EMRs are becoming a necessary part of a practice. Physicians must give in and use EMRs. Soon, they will really have no practical choice.

No comments:

Post a Comment