An update from doctors surveyed on EHR best practices

July 25, 2013

Physicians address costs, hours worked, and advancement in meaningful use objectivesin Medical Economics EHR Best Practices Study

The median number of hours worked has finally stabilized, according to 23 physicians reporting as part of the Medical Economics EHR Best Practices Study.

In fact, after nearly 17 months since the study began, the median number of hours worked is nearing pre-implementation levels at 43.4 hours per week on average.

Total non-clinical hours worked per week has also been on the decline from an average of 11.4 hours per week during the pre-implementation phase to 9.6 hours per week. In addition, the number of direct patient contact hours per week was 34 and has remained relatively flat throughout the study.

The 2-year Medical Economics Best Practices Study began in January 2012 with the first phase of data gathered in March 2012 by 29 solo, office-based physicians. All of the physicians in the study accept new patients and are represented by broad geographic distribution-from New Jersey to California.

The goal of the study has been to document the costs, implementation of best practices, and use of select EHR systems through nine participating companies including ABEL, Aprima, athenahealth, Amazing Charts, CureMD, McKesson, MedNet Medical Solutions, Practice Fusion, and Vitera.

While the study participants did not pay for the systems for the 2-year period, they were asked to document all of the other expenses associated with the implementation and use of the system.

Over the course of the study, those out-of-pocket expenses have been steadily climbing. In fact, on average out-of-pocket expenditures related to the EHR tallied up to $9,116 in July 2013. The 75th percentile noted expenditures of $15,000, while the bottom 25th percentile was closer to $1,250.

A closer look
at the results
Here are some salient data points gleaned from the latest survey:

Q: Do you have the ability to determine eligibility prior to a patient’s visit?
Yes: 77%
No: 23%

Q: What is your average charge per patient?
 Median: $124 (up from a median of $100 nearly 5 months ago)

Q: What was the average reimbursement per patient?
Median: $75 (the average was $79)

Q: On average what were the practice’s denied claims as a percentage of total claims?
Median: 6.2%.