Despite many hospitals' reluctance to make the investment, installing an electronic medical-records system pays for itself in less than two years, a new study finds.
Such a system was put in place at the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center and recouped its initial cost within 16 months, say the authors of a study in the July issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
That experience runs counter to the worries of many healthcare providers, who are often reluctant to invest in such tracking systems.
"Healthcare providers most frequently cite cost as a primary obstacle to adopting an electronic medical-records system. And, until this point, evidence supporting a positive return on investment for electronic health records technologies has been largely anecdotal," study co-author David Krusch, of the department of surgery at the University of Rochester, said in a statement.
He and his colleagues analyzed the return on investment of an electronic health-records system used in five ambulatory offices representing 28 healthcare providers. The study compared the costs of a number of taskssuch as pulling patient charts, creating new charts, filing time, support staff salary, and data transcriptionin the third quarter of 2005 (after the system was installed) with costs in the third quarter of 2003, when the tasks were still being done manually.
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