Tuesday, July 30, 2013

EHR Systems Can Benefit Obesity Medicine Practices

Electronic health record (EHR) systems  have been around for more than 30 years. Some people believe that EHR systems can lower health care costs and improve patient care. Others believe, however, that the systems have yet to prove their worth. But at least one study has shown that the use of EHR systems can improve the workflows in small physician practices that specialize in an area. And since obesity medicine is a specialty, EHR systems might improve the operations of practices focusing on obesity medicine.

A 2012 PMC article described a study which indicated that EHRs are more helpful in small specialty practices than in small primary care practices. The researchers concluded that "the physician offices that had implemented EHR systems, mainly specialty offices, were fully satisfied with the process and claimed to have improved their efficiency.  However, they [the researchers] felt that an upgrade in appropriate interfaces with external entities would lead to further time saving.”

The study determined that external interfaces were especially abundant in small primary care practices. In fact, the researchers concluded that these interfaces were “the major sources of work delays” in small primary care practices.

However, since specialty practices have less external interfaces, and since many obesity medicine practices are small, EHR systems can help these practices improve their efficiency and effectiveness. And recently, a health care coalition indicated that three EHR vendors will add obesity prevention tools to their EHR systems, which should make these tools even more applicable in obesity medicine practices.  The three EHR vendors that are adding the tools are Cerner, GE Healthcare, and Physicians Computer Company.

The addition of obesity prevention tools to these EHR systems should encourage more bariatricians to adopt EHR systems. But it should be noted that the researchers in the above referenced PMC article advise medical practices contemplating adopting an EHR system to “start small and grow.” 

This approach, according to the researchers, can be inexpensive, and can allow a practice to add external interface capability, such as billing software, when the practice is comfortable with the chosen EHR system. Therefore, an obesity medicine practice may want to choose the simplest system among the three obesity medicine enhanced systems -- at least at first.

(Please  leave a  comment by clicking on the  "COMMENTS" link at the lower right part of this blog post. SUBSCRIBE to this blog by scrolling to the bottom of this page and entering your email address.)


Tags: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Subscribe to Overfat Strategy Blog by Email