Drive Revenue and Improve Patient Care With A Fully-Integrated EHR

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Implementing Electronic Health Records (EHR) in medical practices can create a complicated landscape for medical professionals. While EHRs streamline patient care, modernize a practice, and help reduce errors, medical professionals still navigate challenges. So what are some of the biggest EHR hurdles facing practitioners today? Patient engagement, productivity, and operational costs are at the forefront.

This blog post uncovers the true cost of an EHR platform for medical professionals and how additional tools and training can make or break practice budgets. It also reveals how embracing fully integrated EHR systems provides much more than financial savings. Read on to learn how today’s medical offices can increase productivity, drive revenue, and improve patient care with an all-in-one EHR.

How Much Should Medical Practices Budget for an EHR?

Starting a practice is costly. For entrepreneurs looking to enter the medical field, opening a private practice comes at an initial cost of up to $30K and monthly expenses of around $6K. Additionally, Research shows that the average medical office overhead is between 60% and 70%. Finding the money to invest in EHR training, support, and infrastructure poses challenges, especially for smaller practices. So how should medical practitioners plan for the average EHR platform? Costs typically include:

  • Hardware - servers, computers, and other peripherals.
  • EHR software - all software costs, including additions and upgrades.
  • Assistance - IT contractors, system maintenance, installation consulting support, data conversion, and workflow support.
  • Training - ongoing training for clinical staff and office staff.
  • Ongoing Maintenance - including hardware and software license maintenance agreements, IT support fees, and ongoing staff education.

What can the average practice expect to shell out for an electronic health record system? It’s more than most physicians think. The upfront cost of purchasing a platform ranges, on average, from $15,000 to $70,000 per provider. For example, say a large practice wants to install an on-site EHR. The average price tag of this undertaking is around $33,000, with ongoing costs averaging $4000 per year. A cloud-based EHR runs around $26,000, with ongoing expenses averaging $8000 per year.

Hospital EHR implementation comes with an elevated level of complexity and commitment and the fees reflect these factors. Estimates show these costs vary, with some organizations paying $5 million and others shelling out more than $20 million to implement an EHR. So, yes, investing in this platform is expensive – but it is worth it. As technology progresses, medical offices must stay ahead of the curve by investing in advanced EHR systems—or risk becoming inefficient compared to their competitors. Investing in this technology will save staff time, drive revenue, and improve operations overall. Still, medical professionals must invest wisely in the right EHR platform to save their practice money. And a fully integrated and intuitive system is essential for optimizing clinical workflows and reaping savings. Without it, organizational costs will keep spiraling upward.

The Cost of Not Having an Integrated EHR Platform

EHR software helps physicians communicate instantly with insurers, hospitals, and referring physicians. It also helps fill prescriptions quickly and save medical practices time and money. However, no one wins if a medical office uses individual tools and software versus a fully-integrated EHR system. Case in point, practitioners can expect costs to rise if they use additional billing software or hire more staff:

  • A study found that the cost of billing and insurance-related activities for a single primary-care doctor is $99,000 a year.
  • According to Business News Daily, medical billing services cost from 3% to 10% of a practice’s monthly collections.

Additionally, billing processes are complex, often leaving practices waiting weeks to see payment for services rendered to patients. And with telehealth billing changes occurring yearly, it is vital to keep medical billing as streamlined as possible. If not, it can result in immense charges and cash flow challenges. High-volume patient practices also need to be mindful of third-party payment (i.e., Square) processor fees, as the costs can quickly add up. In fact, practitioners may spend over $1,000 monthly on credit card processing fees alone.

If hiring staff is needed, the Bureau of Statistics states that wage estimates for administrative assistants average $39,740. And the median annual wage for medical records specialists hovers around $46,660. These numbers don’t lie. Additional staff and multiple software programs can significantly strain a practice’s budget and resources. Not to mention, it could lead to decreased patient engagement and productivity. These challenges mean less time for what matters most - patient care.

How “Too Many” Tools Hinders Patient Care

The more time a medical professional spends seeing and communicating with a patient, the more satisfied the patient is with the quality of care. Research shows physicians increase patient satisfaction by improving the way they interact with patients in five areas:

  • Expectations: asking patients what they want from the visit
  • Time spent: Satisfaction rates improve as visit length increases
  • Communication: patients view their visit experience positively if their physician takes their problem seriously, clearly explains the condition, and offers practical medical advice
  • Appearance: Patients prefer physicians who dress in semi-formal attire rather than a white coat, casual, or suit
  • Control: yield some control over the visit, and practice shared decision-making

While medical professionals strive for more time with patients, it’s not the reality. Studies show that a 1/3 of physicians said they spend 20 hours or more weekly on clerical and administrative tasks. One study found that medical professionals spend an astounding 4.5 hours (average) daily completing EHRs. An EHR should simplify practice management, not complicate it.

Additionally, the average doctor’s appointment wait time is 26 days. And when practitioners deal with multiple tools, it affects wait times, patient care, and productivity. Case in point, if the patient onboarding process is scattered and inefficient, it adds to the physician’s workload and takes away from quality patient interaction. Studies reveal that the top factors influencing patient “no-show” rates often include poor service quality and waiting times.

An efficient, intuitive, and fully integrated EHR system means less paperwork, less staff, and more productivity. For example, including a HIPAA-compliant text and messaging system will allow the care team to focus on the patient experience instead of wasting valuable time calling patients or returning emails. Or adding a HIPAA-compliant video visit can help healthcare professionals take visit notes within a box on a screen that populates in a post-visit summary. An EHR system that streamlines practice management tasks like these can be a game-changer for providers, especially those with smaller practices.

How a Fully Integrated EHR Improves Patient Care Quality and Drives Revenue

It should be clear that failing to use an integrated EHR system can hamper a practice’s smooth operations and damage its bottom line and future financial health. Forward-thinking healthcare providers need forward-thinking solutions. An advanced EHR system can give providers a competitive edge and revolutionize their medical practice for optimal efficiency and performance.

With this in mind, what if a practice had a fully integrated EHR that offers multiple capabilities for patient engagement, provider communications, and office productivity? The newest integration DrChrono Premium Features powered by Updox, and coming soon - DrChrono Payments can provide medical offices with a powerful, cost-saving, all-in-one EHR platform. Enhance patients’ experiences, boost office productivity, and drive organizational profitability - all from one location powered by DrChrono’s Updox integration.

Customers benefit from a broad set of capabilities that work together in a secure and easy-to-use collaboration platform. With this latest integration, providers can now:

  • Improve Patient Engagement - making it easier to interact with patients in methods they prefer, such as secure HIPAA-compliant text and messaging. The integration also allows practitioners to attach documents, forms, photos, and videos.
  • Increase Productivity - reducing the need to waste time with multiple solutions that only complicate medical practices. Now providers can simplify electronic medical form management by capturing medical intake forms online and sending texts with links for patients to fill out forms.
  • Streamline Office Communication - where medical professionals can securely coordinate care with other providers and free up valuable staff time. With their eFax solution, providers can send and receive faxes with unlimited pages through a HIPAA-compliant inbox with audit trail capabilities.

And now, practitioners will also be able to process payments seamlessly. With the new DrChrono Payments, you can interact with patients by engaging them where they are—online and on their mobile devices.

The bottom line: we want your medical practice to succeed. It’s time to unleash the power of an integrated EHR system with enhanced intuitive integrations to maximize your office efficiency and accuracy.

Ready to transform your practice with Premium Features? Request a product demo with an EHR Specialist today!