Everyone’s talking about “going green” these days and the medical field is no exception. One way medical, dental, and chiropractic offices are contributing to the cause and saving time and money
simultaneously, is the adoption of the Electronic Medical Record.
At present time, only about 15-20% of physicians, dentists, and chiropractors have taken the leap to convert their paper charts to Electronic Medical Record software. The offices that already have experience with the EMR have no doubt about it’s time saving features and cost saving benefits. Not to mention the positive affect it has on the environmental front by cutting down on paper usage, which saves many trees every day.
To help jump start the transition from paper records to EMRs, the Obama Administration has signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which includes funds to give medical offices a monetary incentive to convert from paper to electronic health record software. In order to collect the funds, medical offices not only have to convert to the EMR, they have to actually use it in a “meaningful way”. This stipulation is a good thing, meaning that EMR technology is advancing in leaps and bounds to allow even the most non-technical staff to succeed in the transition to electronic medical records. Also, with this race to build the best EMR, the competitive market is bringing the price of the software down to an affordable level.
Other benefits of the EMR is that it saves medical offices the “green” while benefiting the environment.
• The cost of reams and reams of paper suddenly disappears. As well as toner and copier maintenance.
• Printing costs of encounter, history, registration, and other forms go away; also, the need to constantly add, change, and delete codes and update printed templates becomes a thing of the past.
• The cost of labor decreases because there is no pulling charts, filing or re-filing of charts, no disassembly of charts for copying, and no transcription costs.
• Storage of charts becomes a non-issue, no more paying for offsite storage, retrieval, or record destruction.
Although these are not the only cost saving benefits that can be realized by implementation of an EMR, they are certainly enough to motivate any medical office to seriously consider the advantages of converting their charts to electronic format.
Finding the right system for your practice will most likely take months or maybe years, so even if you are not considering implementation of an EMR in the very near future, it is still not too soon to start comparing features and prices. The more knowledge you have and the more comfortable you become with the EMR concept will give you the confidence to make the right choice.