Maureen McKinney is reporting today in Modern Healthcare that physicians who own their practices may require more help to implement electronic health records than those who do not. Using survey data from more than 150 physicians, taken during a Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative pilot, researchers from Boston-based not-for-profit system Partners HealthCare assessed physicians' perceptions about the difficulties associated with EHR implementation. Of all the respondents, more than half said implementation was "somewhat difficult," while 35% called the EHR implementation process "very difficult." Roughly a quarter of responding physicians who did not have any ownership stake in their practices said they considered implementation very difficult. But that share jumped to 38% for physicians with full or partial ownership.
Physician owners may perceive the implementation process as more challenging because they have to consider the financial risks involved, the authors wrote. "Because ownership is generally associated with greater levels of responsibility for day-to-day practice operations and management, these physicians probably experienced more underlying challenges associated with EHR implementation and workflow transformation," according to the study. "Physician owners probably bear financial risk for failure of implementation out of proportion to payers or publicly funded health plans who benefit from patient safety and quality but not as directly from practice efficiency or revenue cycle management." These problems may well fall disproportionately on racial or ethnic minority physicians or those practising in medically underserved areas or areas predominated with patients from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.. As such it may also have an impact on patient outcomes, contributing to healthcare disparities.Physician owners may benefit from increased training and additional financial support when implementing EHRs, the authors said. If all providers and patients are to bequitably recieve the benefits that EMR's and other forms of Health IT have to offer, stategies will need to be developed to enable these providres to overcome these challenges.
FMI read http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20120120/NEWS/301209989#ixzz1k1WW12Gl?trk=tynt