EHRs: More prosperous practices tend to be paperless

April 25, 2008

If you want to copy the habits of financially successful doctors who don't have to borrow money to meet payroll, consider implementing an EHR. That's one conclusion you could draw from survey data from the Medical Group Management Association.

If you want to copy the habits of financially successful doctors who don’t have to borrow money to meet payroll, consider implementing an EHR. That’s one conclusion you could draw from survey data from the Medical Group ManagementAssociation.

The MGMA classifies practices as “better performers” in three categories: Profitability and cost management, accounts receivable, and productivity, capacity, and staffing. To earn a “better performer” star, you must meet certain benchmarks. In the category of profitability and cost management, for example, you must exceed the MGMA median in your specialty for total medical revenue per full-time-equivalent physician minus operating costs as well as fall under the median for operating costs per medical procedure. Better performers in the A/R category must, among other things, beat the specialty median for total A/R over 120 days.

Every year the MGMA compares better performers to the rest of the medical world to get some clues as to why they’re leading the pack. Turns out that 53 percent of better performers had either fully or partially implemented an EHR by the end of fiscal year 2006 compared to 36 percent for other practices.

Not surprisingly, better performers also invest more in computerization. Among single-specialty primary-care groups in 2006, better performers allocated $3,260 more per full-time-equivalent physician on information technology than other groups. Likewise, better performing multispecialty groups outspent others on IT by $3,525 per doctor.