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Survey: EHRs boost quality but don’t cut costs

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 26, 2013

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Electronic health record system vendor athenahealth surveyed 1,200 of its physician clients to find that many believe EHRs positively affect the quality of care but not a practice’s finances.

For its fourth annual “Physicians Sentiment Index” survey, athenahealth polled a group of physicians made up of specialists and primary care doctors in both independent and owned practices. The survey found that 38% had a somewhat favorable opinion of EHRs and that 31% had a very favorable opinion. Fifty-five percent said the patient care benefits of EHRs outweigh the costs of the systems, but 51% said the financial benefits do not outweigh the costs.

The survey also found that although many believe a shift from fee for service will improve the quality of care, the majority believe it will affect profits negatively and will not come cheap. Nearly 75% had either only “heard of” or were “somewhat familiar with” an accountable care organization, and 26% responded that they don’t know if they are participating in any pay-for-performance programs.

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