Ambulatory surgery centers struggle to adopt EHRs

Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) face challenges in adopting EHRs, which may account for the reason that 82 percent do not use an EHR, 85 percent use paper perioperative notes and 74 percent use dictation and transcription for physician procedure notes, according to an independent U.S. survey of ASC administrators.

Wolters Kluwer Health, a provider of information for healthcare professionals and students, commissioned the study.

Of the administrators questioned, 43 percent cited the obstacles to electronically streamlining documentation are:

  • Lack of interface with scheduling software and other existing systems;
  • Lack of capital investment;
  • Lack of software that will capture their patient mix; and
  • Lack of personnel to implement a new system.

In addition, 49 percent have concerns that revenue may be lost in the implementation process. Nearly one-fourth of the ASC administrators surveyed did not know their current per chart document management costs; and among those who were aware, 69 percent place this cost between $3 and $9.

In the survey, 175 administrators considered the combined changes and estimated future revenue at their ASCs, making predictions based on full phase-in of the new reimbursement schedule.

Of the ASC administrators surveyed, 42 percent expect decreased revenue at their sites. Of these administrators, 50 percent believe gastroenterology services will negatively impact revenue. Of those who anticipate increased revenue at their sites, 36 percent believe orthopedic services will have a positive effect on revenue.

Renaissance Research, of Edwardsville, Ill., conducted the national survey by telephone interviews between Feb. 29 and March 12.