EHR Adoption

“Provide examples of some of the primary barriers to EHR adoption and define specific strategies for overcoming these barriers.”

Please write a discussion post of about 250 words for the prompt above, and write a 100 words response to my classmate(Jared)’s post (shown below). The instructor grades harshly on my last discussion post so please ensure the quality. Thank you!

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“Although EHRs and EMRs are incredibly beneficial to patients, payers, and purchasers alike by improving access to information and reducing medical errors, there are a plethora of barriers that disincentivize physicians from using them. For one, implementation of EMRs comes at the inconvenience of the physician, especially in smaller organizations; the physician must pay for the EMR or EHR service that is being used and then go out of his or her way to learn how to use the service itself. Incentives must be aligned properly in order to get physicians to start using EHRs and EMRs (Wager 2009).

Overall, financial, organizational, and technical factors are the three main barriers that prevent healthcare organizations from adopting EHRs (Wager 2009). Due to the aforementioned lack of incentives due to misalignment, many healthcare organizations receive no reimbursement for the amount of money that it takes to implement, develop, and support EHRs. Though EHRs are beneficial for the patient, healthcare organizations must weigh and consider whether or not it is sustainable or worth it for them to financially support the use of EHRs. Healthcare organizations without large amounts of capital struggle to make the up-front investment that is necessary to get an EMR system off the ground. Furthermore, implementing change can be tough; physicians that are getting used to EMR systems might find their performance negatively impacted for a few months as they adjust to the new system. To tackle financial issues surrounding EHRs and EMRs, strategies such as payment differentials, cost differentials, innovative reimbursements, and employing shared risk can be used. Payment differentials use bonuses to reward providers for using EMRs while cost differentials rely on patient copayments or deductibles. Innovative reimbursements involve using reimbursement in cases where electronic services are used such as during telehealth appointments. Shared risk involves making provider fees connected to technology improvements. Any combination of these strategies can be used to combat the financial barriers preventing some healthcare organizations from employing EHRs (Wagner 2009).

Behavioral barriers refer to physicians’ attitudes towards using EHRs. Due to the fact that implementation of EHRs can prove to be difficult and time consuming, many physicians do not feel encouraged to employ them. As mentioned, physicians are not financially incentivized to use EHRs due to lack of alignment. Changes in workflow can also prove to be difficult for many physicians. Lastly, many physicians choose to stay away from using online technological services due to the fact that they are afraid of performing their job incorrectly. The only way to combat behavioral barriers is to facilitate strong leadership and to have good training practices that teach physicians how to use EHRs and EMRs (Wagner 2009).

Strong technological understanding of EMR systems are necessary for implementation. Not only must physicians and healthcare organizations fund and organizationally adapt to EMR systems, but they must also keep up to date with updates to their EMR systems. Staying up to date and improving upon pre-existing EMR systems can prove to be cumbersome. Organizations like the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology and the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel have helped to standardize the use of EMR and EHR systems and have helped to mitigate technical roadblocks in implementation. Alliance with these organizations can help otherwise struggling healthcare organizations apply and stay up to date with EMR systems (Wagner 2009). See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_health_record for more details

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Though there are barriers to EHR and EMR adoption, the future looks bright; the Health IT Dashboard from The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology shows that basic EHR adoption has been climbing steadily every year and that certified EHR adoption remains high at around 96%. Smaller, more rural hospitals are adopting EHR practices despite the barriers that exist. It seems as though hospitals are increasingly identifying and understanding the value in EHRs. Patient safety should come first, even if it means that hospitals have to experience growing pains through implementation (dashboard.healthit.gov).

References:
Adoption of Electronic Health Record Systems among U.S. Non-Federal Acute Care Hospitals: 2008-2015. dashboard.healthit.gov. (n.d.). https://dashboard.healthit.gov/evaluations/data-briefs/non-federal-acute-care-hospital-ehr-adoption-2008-2015.php#:~:text=Nearly%20all%20reported%20hospitals%20(96,increased%20by%2011%25%20from%202014.
Wager, K. A., Lee, F. W., Glaser, J. P., & Wager, K. A. (2009). Health care information systems: A practical approach for health care management. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.”

 

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