Why EHRs fail in physician practices

Electronic health record (EHR) system implementation in physician practices often fail, according to Mark R. Anderson, FHIMSS, CPHIMSS, CEO and healthcare futurist with the AC Group Inc. in Montgomery, Texas. Speaking at this week’s Health Information Technology (HIT) Symposium at MIT in Cambridge, Mass., Anderson said that 74 percent of discarded EHRs were so because the software did not meet the actual needs of the physicians. Practices also often spend too much for the software.

Making matters worse for practices, 80 percent of vendors implementing the software do not help the practice determine how to use the product to improve operations. The wrong EHR decision could cost the average physician more than $50,000 per year, Anderson said.

To make a better EHR purchasing decision, Anderson said practices need to keep in mind that the vendor sells you a car and teaches you how to turn it on. “The vendor does not teach you how to drive. The vendor does not should you how to get where you want to go,” he said. Technology can improve your operations, improve reimbursements, and reduce costs. However, technology alone does nothing. The staff makes it work. Computers only do what you tell them to do.

Don’t jump in until you are ready, Anderson advised. Also, take an incremental approach toward automation.