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4 Vital Issues for Physicians in 2012

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, January 5, 2012

3. Health IT: With the impending release of the Stage 2 Meaningful Use final rule, physicians will meet impending deadlines to install computerized systems and EMR. In the meantime, physicians point to paperwork as the problem. About 63% of physicians surveyed by the foundation said that non-clinical paperwork has caused them to spend less time with their patients and 94% said the time they devote to non-clinical paperwork has increased. Indeed, many doctors say the "paperwork is killing me," Goodman reports.

Still, is EMR the answer? "Maybe in big practices. But in smaller practices, having an electronic record may take more time than a paper record. It may not improve quality and reduce costs and it may not be as effective," he adds. In a small practice it costs about $60,000 to put in an electronic record system, and they may have an electronic and paper record side-by-side for a year."

Generally, smaller physician practices often "don't want to invest in IT, and would want to affiliate with a larger physician practice or hospital," says Green.

Green noted that the Intermountain Health System in Salt Lake City, UT has installed IT systems that are easier for physicians to use. "Intermountain Health has created IT-supported electronic health records that are intuitive in a way physicians might use manual records," Green says. "It gives them benefits right away, providing information on antibiotics for example, that they would not ordinarily easily get. Once they start using the system they see how easy it is to use."

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