Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) recently completed a multi-year pilot program aiming to increase the use of electronic health records (EHR). Results point to a clear improvement in care among practices using EHR. In addition, the pilot program showed a reduction in healthcare costs for EHR adopters.
Participating members saved between 17 and 33 percent compared to practices without EHR systems. EHR allows practices to keep track of health information more easily. It is also easier to share with other care givers, which helps eliminate duplicate tests. Duplicate and unnecessary testing is a major contributor to the cost of health care. Providers without EHR may have to pull many paper results and files to track the effectiveness of a given treatment. With EHR, a provider can track performance at a glance using built-in charts or reports.
EHR also helps providers give better care. Dr. Gus Manocchia, senior vice president and chief medical officer at BCBSRI states that “using EHR makes it easier for us to… manage chronic conditions.” Dr. Pablo Rodriguez, Board Chairman of the Health Care Alliance and CEO of Women’s Care, Inc. elaborates, “every provider believes that they deliver excellent care, but it wasn’t until we looked at the EHR data that we realized… our profession wasn’t meeting the expectation. You can’t improve what you don’t measure, and while paper is very forgiving, software never forgets.”
If your practice hasn’t switched to EHR yet, you are forgoing many benefits. While improving the quality and reducing the cost of care should be at the top of anyone’s list, the federal HITECH incentive program means there’s no better time to switch than now. The HITECH ACT will reimburse physicians up to $44,000 under Medicare or $64,000 under Medicaid for implementing a certified EHR system. If you have questions about how you can improve patient care, reduce costs, or participate in the HITECH incentive program, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.