Study: Outsourcing Could Drive EHR Adoption
Technology outsourcing could be the key to some physicians' adoption of electronic health records, especially those in smaller practices, according to a new study by First Consulting Group, Investor's Business Daily reports.
Small physician-practices do not have the data center expertise to implement the technology and ensure that it is secure, according to Keith MacDonald, a First Consulting analyst and co-author of the study conducted for the California HealthCare Foundation. Instead, a services vendor, physician association or hospital could house or maintain the software, which physicians could access over a secure broadband Internet connection for a monthly fee, Investor's Business Daily reports.
Some physician associations in California already are offering such services, MacDonald said. A relaxation of regulations on what hospitals can provide to physicians allows hospitals to become service providers, Investor's Business Daily reports.
The number of physicians using the outsourced model currently is low, but the study found that owning the software is cost-prohibitive for small practices. Owning an EHR system could cost a five-physician practice $63,990 in the first year, compared with $32,500 for using an outsourced service, the study found. However, because of pricing and maintenance dynamics, owning becomes more favorable around the sixth year of using the system, Investor's Business Daily reports.
"The fundamental challenge of [EHRs] today is that the majority of the value of [EHRs] does not return financially back to the physician practice that has to finance and purchase it," said Dan Pollard, director of project management at Misys Healthcare Systems. He added that outsourcing the technology hosting could be "a way to drive more [EHR] adoption" (Howell, Investor's Business Daily, 12/5).