The recently enacted Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) of 2009 represents an important first step towards achieving the vision of a nationwide, fully interoperable electronic health record (EHR) system. However, the gap between that vision and current reality remains wide. Many healthcare providers still use paper records. Other providers have tried to implement EHR systems, but unfortunately, many such projects have failed. “Industry experts agree that failure rates of electronic medical record (EMR) implementations range from 50 to 80 percent.” Clearly, the challenges of EHR adoption and implementation remain great.
EHRs promise to lower costs resulting from inefficiency and inappropriate and/or redundant care while improving the coordination of care and exchange of information among healthcare enterprises. However, despite these promises and efforts to date, adoption rates among physicians still remain relatively low, with costs cited as a major deterrent. Other adoption concerns include complex organizational and system work flow issues and the increased documentation burdens on the part of physicians when they are asked to use direct text entry. Several studies have shown that practice productivity can decrease by at least 10 percent for several months following EHR implementation. In some non-oncology studies, the average drop in revenue from that loss of productivity was approximately $7,500 per physician.”
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