Study: EHRs decrease number of patients seen, but increase revenue

EHR implementation may lead to a dip in patient volume but can boost revenue in the long term, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

In the study, researchers compared patient volumes and revenues at 30 ambulatory clinics before and for two years after and EHR was implemented.

Over the two post-EHR years, patient volumes dropped across specialties to the tune of 108 patients less per quarter. However, the practices were billing for an average of an additional 94 ancillary procedures per quarter after the EHR implementation.

The study authors the results don't show upcoding, but rather suggest the EHRs are enabling providers to focus on the patients that need the most care.

"While the productivity losses can be seen in a negative light, these findings also suggest a type of efficiency in which the practices are getting paid more for seeing fewer patients," the authors wrote. "It is also possible that these practices were taking better care of fewer patients. We have no data on this issue, but this perspective would be consistent with the literature in which EHRs are associated with greater patient safety and higher scores on some measures of quality."

More articles on EHRs:

MU patient engagement, TOC requirements continue to frustrate providers
EHRs: 8 hidden legal dangers
EHRs boost routine HIV screening rates

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