A recent study published in the November issue of Archives of Internal Medicine reports that physicians who actively use Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) face less malpractice claims than physicians who do not use an EMR. EMRs “are an essential foundation for the delivery of high quality care,” according to Steven Simon, Assistant Professor at Harvard University, and author of the study. The study surveyed 1,140 practicing physicians in Massachusetts during 2005.
Trends showed that 6.1 percent of physicians with EMRs had paid out malpractice claims, while 10.8 percent of physicians without an EMR had paid out claims in the past ten years. The study goes a step further and differentiates between active and less active users of EMR technology. 5.7 percent of more active users paid claims, compared with 12.1 percent of less active users.
Although the results are not statistically significant, reduction of malpractice claims is yet another reason to adopt an EMR, which improves quality of care in several ways. Unlike paper charts that are easily lost, electronic records are instantly available at your fingertips. Poor handwriting is a huge drawback of paper records. With EMRs, you do not have to waste time trying to decipher cryptic handwriting. EMRs can prevent allergic reactions to prescribed medications as well as dangerous interactions with other medications. Finally, EMRs are designed to follow best practices, so they act as a checklist to ensure the physician does not forget or overlook anything important.
EMRs benefit your practice in many ways. They improve the quality of care you can provide, reduce your operating expenses, and increase your revenue. If you have not yet adopted an EMR, now is the time.