Many physicians in Northern New Jersey and nationally want to change to electronic medical records, but they fear the cost of converting. Estimates for installing EMR software varies among vendors, from about $10,000 to $50,000 for solo physicians, and up to $100,000 for a group practice. Add to this monthly maintenance and annual update fees, installing high-speed Internet hardware and paying additional staff to input old data from paper records.
Some older practitioners just don't like or trust computers. Meanwhile, decades of patients' file folders pile up on floor-to-ceiling shelves in their offices. Joseph Friedlander, an internist in Teaneck, N.J., is a self-professed "gadget person" who has computerized all of his practice's financial transactions and uses a Palm Pilot to transmit drug prescriptions to pharmacists. But Friedlander, 53, is reluctant to fully digitize his medical records.
"Why should I spend $50,000 and find out they want us to use something totally different?" he said of the federal government and insurers.
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