Medical Malpractice News

The Looming Staffing Crisis in EHR

Tags: | Comments: 0 | January 27th, 2011

As many physicians know, the federal government is spending nearly $20 billion in the next five years to promote and encourage the adoption of electronic health records (EHR) in physician offices.

If you think about the overall medical software environment, it’s easy to understand why the job will be easier said than done.

Roughly twenty percent of physician offices are currently using an EHR in their offices.   Those physicians have adopted the software sometime in the past five to seven years.

Now, the government wants the remaining 80 percent of physicians to start using EHR in the next five years.  There are simply not enough people to get the job done.

The folks that implement EHR system have a specialized skill set.  They must be technology savvy for starters.  They must know the physician office environment, both the practice management and the clinical aspects.  And they must be able to learn the software and effectively educate others to use the software.

So, while someone may call themselves an EHR trainer, believe me, they are not all created equal.

What can you do?

First, if you think you want to implement a system in the next 18 months to take full advantage of government incentives, then you should start looking now.  Make a purchase decision by the beginning of the summer.

Second, make sure you ask potential vendors about their trainers, how many years they’ve been working in the industry, how many practices they have successfully brought “live” in the EHR world. Ask to speak to one or two of their satisfied clients.

The work you do now will save you lots of time, money and heartache down the road.

In addition many of the medical malpractice insurance carriers are now offering physicians and surgeons discounts on their medical liability insurance policies if they have an electronic medical records system implemented in their practice.  Most medical liability insurance carriers prefer doctors offices to have an electronic medical records as it is a good tool for risk management for their practice.