Electronic health records and the impact on workflow and costs

Electronic health records and the impact on workflow and costs

July 31, 20181 min read

Healthcare practitioners and hospitals were initially slow to implement electronic health records (EHR) due to the perceived cost. The financial incentives from Medicare/Medicaid to adopt EHRs helped alleviate some of that concern, but the actual impact on workflow and profits, irrespective of those incentives, are still under investigation. In a research study, Steven D. Culler, adjunct associate professor of finance, along with David J. Ballard (Baylor Health Care System); Edmund R. Becker (Emory University); Dunlei Cheng (U of Texas); Briget da Graca (Baylor Health Care System); Neil S. Fleming (Baylor Health Care System); and Russell McCorkle (HealthTexas Provider Network) analyzed administrative, payroll, and billing data from 26 primary care practices in a Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas-based fee-for-service network that implemented EHRs from June 2006 through December 2008. In the 12-month period following implementation, staffing expenses increased 3 percent and practice costs increased 6 percent. The data revealed that “productivity, volume, and net income decreased initially, but recovered to/close to preimplementation levels after 12 months.” Given the recent rollout of EHRs across the country, the researchers noted the need for a longer-term investigation of the impact on productivity and costs.


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  • Steven Culler
    Steven Culler Affiliated Associate Professor of Finance

    A health services researcher explaining the variation in utilization, cost, and outcomes of selected treatments in the Medicare Program.

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