Health IT costs exceed $32k per physician per year

Since 2009, technology costs at physician-owned multispecialty practices have grown by more than 40 percent. In 2015, such practices spent more than $32,500 on IT-related costs per full-time physician per year, according to a survey and analysis conducted by the Medical Group Management Association.

The MGMA outlined its findings in its 2016 MGMA Cost and Revenue Report. The report indicates the growing IT expenses are likely related to increased adoption and complexity of health IT. While IT costs grew 40 percent since 2009, the largest increase in such costs happened between 2010 and 2011, aligning with the implementation of the HITECH Act that spurred IT adoption, according to the report.

Additionally, multispecialty practices report increases in IT staff expenses: Since 2009, IT staff expenses have grown 47 percent per full-time physician. The report suggests rising staff costs indicate the administrative efficiencies IT can bring have not yet been achieved.

"While technology plays a crucial role in helping healthcare organizations evolve to provide higher-quality, value-based care, this transition is becoming increasingly expensive," said Halee Fischer-Wright, president and CEO of MGMA in a statement.

While IT costs are on the rise, the report says total operating costs generally are growing. In 2015, physician-owned multispecialty practices reported such costs increasing by close to 15 percent per full-time physician, while they only experienced 10 percent revenue growth.

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