With 57 percent of physicians already using electronic health records (EHR) systems in 2011 (Birk, 2012, p. 21), deconstructing some of the primary drivers of EHR implementation can help the minority of physicians who have yet to dive into the EHR market. According to Ross and Berth (2002), all IT investments can be categorized into four types, which serve as primary drivers to support a request for a new EHR system. The four classes of IT investments are:
Based on Ross and Berth’s four types of IT investment, implementing a new EHR system would either be categorized as a transformation investment or a process improvement. The six reasons or systems projects are: improved service, support for new products and services, better performance, more information, stronger controls, and reduce cost (Shelly & Rosenblatt, 2012, pp. 59).
Four Factors Driving Health IT Adoption
1. Better Performance/Reduced Cost - With the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) pumping additional funding to physicians who adopt an EHR system through its EHR incentive program, now more than ever is it beneficial for physician practices to adopt an EHR system. Most private practices would only qualify for the Medicare track of funding through the EHR incentive program. The EHR incentive program looking to improve provider performance, while reducing costs to physicians.
2. Stronger Controls - It is imperative that the new EHR system allows for a secure platform that allows for existing workflows to be adapted to the system. The EHR system needs to be open enough to allow physicians and administrators to complete their work, while also maintaining a secure environment free from bad data and data breaches. By implementing a new EHR system, the organization can better protect itself from data theft and support the company’s business needs (Shelly & Rosenblatt, 2012, p. 60).
3. More Information - By implementing an EHR system, physician practices will be able to analyze patient data in a way that was not possible with their paper charting system. These services then can be marketed and relayed to the physician practice's patients (Shelly & Rosenblatt, 2012, p. 60).
4. Improved Service and Outcomes - As meaningful use is focused on increasing patient health, adopting an EHR also fits into most physician practices strategic plan or mission. As physician practices become more comfortable with their EHR system, they will be able to offer more efficient customer service and patient care.
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Christopher M. Bell