As your organization moves closer to implementing an electronic health record (EHR) system, one big question on everyone’s mind has to be, “How does EHR save me money?” The short answer? Lots of ways. But since “lots of ways” probably isn’t going to convince your organization’s decision-maker of the financial benefits tied to an EHR (even if that’s you!), we’ve laid out some of the biggest cost-savers organizations can expect from implementing an EHR system.
Fewer medical errors
First and foremost, switching to an EHR software system reduces lost time and productivity due to human error. Instead of trying to keep track of the latest version of a client’s treatment documentation , wasting valuable time trying to decipher someone else’s chicken-scratch handwriting, or updating information that’s already been updated in a different system, an EHR system ensures that you’re looking at the most up-to-date information, all in one place. No more misplaced documents, no more misfiles, and no more redundancy — meaning you can get back to the client care you’re passionate about.
Reduced risk of data breaches
Let’s face it, data breaches and HIPAA violations are serious and costly. In fact, in their 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report, IBM and the Ponemon Institute found that healthcare data breach costs average about $429 per record — the highest of any industry by far. When you’re relying on paper records or an uncertified system, it’s simply too easy to misplace a document containing important personally identifiable information — or for a hacker to nab a folder or chart. Moving to an EHR means tighter security and encryption, which makes it much harder for the bad guys to get access to clients’ most sensitive information. And when you have fewer breaches, you’ll spend less time and money on potential lawsuits and avoid damaging your reputation among your clients, because they know you’re keeping their information safe and have their best interests in mind.
Better use of resources
It’s pretty hard to argue with the “green” factor of going digital with your record management. Implementing an EHR systems moves all of your filing online, which means you’ll need fewer paper products and office supplies, less filing space, and fewer printers, copiers, and fax machines. Plus, it’s just easier to store and share information securely among separate entities, whether it’s other clinicians, pharmacists, or office managers.
Improved client care
If you work in the behavioral health and human services field, chances are there’s a reason you got into it: because you want to help other people live their best lives by providing comprehensive, compassionate care. And according to HealthIT.gov, 75% of health care providers say that their EHR enables them to deliver better client care. Implementing an EHR cuts down on the time you spend on paperwork, including the constant correcting of documentation by payers when submitting claims for reimbursement . By spending less time on housekeeping, you can maximize your time with your clients doing the work you love — and save costs on man-hours in the process. Plus, when you’re providing more efficient care, you’ll have more time available to see more clients, increasing your revenue.
The bottom line for EHR cost effectiveness
It’s true that no system is without flaws, and it’s important to consider the up-front costs of implementing a new EHR system in your organization. But between the reduced chance of errors and breaches, the money you save by spending less time and resources on your documentation, there’s a clear case for the costs and benefits of EHRs.