According to Chinn (2012), health information systems (HIS) are important information management systems used in a healthcare system to capture and display data in relation to delivery of healthcare services. One of the widely applied health information systems is the electronic medical report (EMR), which is also commonly known as electronic health record (EHR). The EMR is an equivalent of a patient’s paper chart in the manual system. EMR is efficient as it provides the attending physicians with quick and immediate access to comprehensive patient information. This improves the input for decision making by the attending physicians, thus enabling evidence based guidelines real time application utilization (Amatayakul & Lazarus, 2005). This write-up discusses how electronic medical report, an example of a system-based system, can be employed to control cost, which appears to be a major challenge in healthcare provision.
Electronic health records are portable; this enables the attending physician to access their patients’ information whether they are at the office or not. The information system is important as it reduces unnecessary redundancy. For instance, EMR eliminates situations in which multiple providers order for the same laboratory test. As the services become more efficient and quality deficiencies reduce, the overall healthcare cost reduces (Kipp & Mattie, 2010). The financial benefits obtained from EMR may be due to saved costs and even increased revenues. EMR’s financial benefits can be classified into three categories: payer independent benefits, fee-for-service reimbursement benefit, and benefits as a result of capitated reimbursement (Wang et al., 2003).
Payer independent benefits are obtained due to a decrease in paper chart pulls and transcription. This applies to both fee-for-service and capitated patients. In systems where paper charts are used, the cost of personnel who retrieves and re-files the chart is incurred. This implies that EMR enables all healthcare providers to eliminate excess staff and services and save time (Koop Foundation, 2003). Under capitated reimbursement, benefits to the practice and the healthcare organization majorly accrue from saved costs due to decreased expenses (Wager et al., 2009). On the other hand, the utilization reduction by EMR is attainable as it provides clinical decision support alerts that help reduce the use of laboratory tests, harmful drug treatment, as well as offering alternative to expensive medications. Moreover, the financial benefits obtained from EMR under fee-for-service reimbursement result from reduced losses and increased revenue. Finally, the capture of in-office procedures gets improved due to computerizing the encounter form. Such actions eliminate possibilities of non-documented procedures. Billing capture also improves with the use of EMR, which supplies or prompts certain field requirements (Walker et al., 2005).
Strasberg (2011) noted that, despite the benefits of electronic medical record systems, it has some disadvantages. Privacy concerns, initial cost, change process, and poor organizational structure are among the barriers to EMR adoption (Boonstra & Broekhuis, 2010). Investment in EMR is also expensive and has to compete with other organizational investments, including renovations. Most organizations make investments in anticipation of revenue return. This fact explains why those organizations which fail to quantify the benefits they would achieve from EMR would be reluctant to embrace the technology (Medpac, 2004). Another major challenge towards implementing the use of EMR the management faces is the evidenced resistance to change from powerful actors in care delivery. For instance, most physicians majorly focus on patient treatment and view other activities as administrative issues that do not concern them. If influential physicians and nurses embraced the technology, other caregivers would easily take suit (Fichman et al., 2011). Therefore, it is important to develop good relations with physicians in order to effect EMR implementation (Vincenzo, 2012).
Adoption of EMR is in line with strategic goals of healthcare provision as it allows for reduction in costs. The initial cost may be incurred in the first part of the year and compensated by revenues benefits by the end of the year. The system is also important as it enables efficient time management, thereby allowing the providers to serve several patients within a short time.