Surgical group practices using electronic medical records value their EMRs but endured many problems getting them working properly, according to attendees of a session of the Medical Group Management Association's Annual Conference. And some noted at the round table for the MGMA's Assembly of Surgical Group Practice Administrators that surgical groups are not getting the EMR they need from system vendors.
Implementation for their EMR years ago “was just awful,” said Sarah Holt, administrator for Cape Girardeau (Mo.) Surgical Clinic & Cape Medical Billing Corp., who was one of the roughly two-thirds of attendees who had EMRs in use. But Holt said she now would not go back to paper records.
Implementation problems are likely to get worse, not better, said Marion Jenkins, CEO for QSE Technologies, a computer technology hardware company that doesn't offer an EMR. With so many people still sitting on the fence about an EMR, there's going to be a mad rush to install them, Jenkins said. If they haven't started the process, federal stimulus bonus money may be out of reach. “If you're just starting to kick the tires, it's too late,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ramona Osborne, executive director for Ohio Valley Surgical Specialists, Owensboro, Ky., was among those who suggested that the MGMA work to bridge the gap between what EMR vendors offer and what specialist group practices actually need.