Insurer finds EMRs won’t pay off for its doctors

AMNews reports:

The Massachusetts Blues believes that the return on physicians’ investment doesn’t warrant buying the technology as part of its bonus programs.

One health plan has come to a conclusion that many physicians already have reached: The financial benefits of office-based electronic medical records systems are not worth the cost to doctors.

Relying on information from past studies, including an American Medical Association estimate that doctors see only 11 cents of every dollar saved through the use of information technology, BlueCross BlueShield of Massachusetts recently announced that it has decided not to require physicians to install an EMR to participate in its bonus program.

Read the rest…

Yikes. More bad news for EMRs. As I speak to physicians, especially ambulatory care and small office ones, EMRs more and more have a reputation for harming, rather than helping, practices. EMRs remain quite useful in acute care settings but reports like the above seem keep hammering the lack of value of large EMRs in small practices. I wonder what is going to turn around this bad news.

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3 thoughts on “Insurer finds EMRs won’t pay off for its doctors

  1. March 14, 2008

    I read with great interest your article on electronic personal health records and thought you would find MyMedicalRecords of interest. MMR has contracts with organizations covering more than 30 million lives to provide our services.

    Contrasting MMR to other popular EMR products, MMR is delivering the most user-friendly, convenient and versatile web-based Personal Health Record available today. Using our proprietary patent pending technologies, complete patient information including actual lab test results, radiology reports and images, progress notes and all of a patient’s charts can be uploaded or faxed with annotated voice notes and comments directly into the user’s password-secured account. Users do not need to install any special software or use any special hardware to use our service.

    MMR also has integrated other advanced features, such as multilingual translation, a drug interaction database of more than 20,000 medications, calendaring for prescription refills and doctor appointments, and private voicemail for a doctor’s message and other personal uses.

    There also is a special “Emergency Log-In” feature that allows a doctor to access a user’s account to view their most important medical information in the event of a medical emergency. To ensure individual privacy, specific data, such as prescriptions, allergies, blood type and copies of actual medical files or images, are pre-selected by the user for inclusion in the online read-only Emergency Folder.

    In addition, MMR also includes an online ESafeDeposit Box feature that enables users to securely store any important document in a virtual “lock box” and access them anytime from anywhere using an Internet-connected computer or PDA. These documents can include Advanced Directives, Wills, insurance policies, birth certificates, photos of Family, Pets and Property, and more. MMR is clearly one of the most complete user-friendly Personal Health Records available today (I can provide details).

    Incidentally, MMR has built a two-way data interface to Google Health and our understanding with Google is that MMR will be part of their public launch expected shortly. This will enable users to move information from their Google Health account to their MyMedicalRecords account and vice versa. This will enhance the Google Health user experience by allowing the individual to store documents, images, and other personal information in MMR’s easy-to-use personal health record and will have the benefit of all the additional features MMR has that are not available directly within Google Health.

    I would encourage you to visit MMR and set up a complimentary account. Simply go to and sign up using registration code MMRBLOG. I would be interested in your experience and hope that you will include us in any further discussions of Personal Health Records. I could also send you more information by email or snail mail (the latter allows me to send a bit more than I’d want to clog your email with). Recently, we sent out a release about MMR Pro, which will better enable physicians to put patient records into secure, online accounts.

    Scott S. Smith
    Director of Public Relations
    11000 Santa Monica Blvd. #430
    Los Angeles CA 90067
    Ext 123 (Cell: 310/254-4051)

  2. Hello, and again, thank you for keeping abreast of medical IT developments, and making it possible for the rest of us to keep tabs by bookmarking *you.* 🙂

    Easing medical office adoption of EMR’s is The Holy Grail among EMR vendors, and there’s no easy answer in sight.

    Countering the inherent difficulties will take a lot of re-educating, of both physicians and their office staff. This is especially critical in small offices, which have gotten accustomed to their own idiosyncratic workflows, and for whom staff changes or hardcore tactics (“Learn the system or we’ll hire someone who will”) aren’t an option.

    Clearly, there are examples of physicians adopting EMR who thrived as a result — increased income, increased pt satisfaction, increased pt volume/day, increased medicolegal protection. Those not only need to be talked up; what they “did right” needs identifying, and reproducing elsewhere.

    Organizationally, EMR promoting groups have tons of info as to the potential benefits of adoption — time saved, reduced staff costs, chart rooms converted to active income generating space, etc.

    The hangup really appears to be changing the mindset of the physicians and staff. No matter how user friendly a system is, either of EMR and/or EPM, there will be a learning curve, and workflow analysis and change. Many folk just don’t get it — EMR’s are NOT just fancy word processors, they’re a whole ‘nuther beastie.

    And being part of a traditionally isolationist, fiercely independent profession doesn’t help.

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