Electronic medical records reduce long-term costs, study finds

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Medical practices that have implemented an electronic health records system
have seen significant financial benefits, according to a recent report by the
Medical Group Management Association.

The report, based on a survey of 1,324 medical practices, found independent
practices reported an average of $49,916 more in medical revenue than practices
still using paper records.

The same pattern was observed in hospitals and integrated delivery
system-owned practices. According to the report, these practices using
electronic health records reported an average operating margin of $42,042 more
than those using paper records.

“The potential of improved financial performance should be an encouragement
for many organizations to purchase and use an [electronic health records
system],” said MGMA CEO William Jessee.

MGMA found there are still challenges for physicians to implement an EHR
system that meets the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
guidelines. To protect medical records and expedite the transcription process,
many healthcare providers use a digital voice recording device, such as those
offered by American Dictation, to produce secure transcriptions and reduce
documentation errors.

A statute in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act mandates that every
person have an electronic medical record by 2014. To meet this goal, the federal
government will disburse nearly $20 billion as incentive payments to healthcare
providers to implement electronic record systems, the Washington Post
reports.

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