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EHRs Increase Billing: Why the Surprise?

posted Sep 24, 2012, 11:38 PM by Nelson King
The Center for Public Integrity published an article Growth of electronic medical records eases path to inflated bills.  News organizations have also picked up on the story.  EMR and EHR vendors have long promoted their technologies to medical practices on the basis of more complete billing.  This is one way that medical practices can recoup the investment in these systems.

Whether this news should have been a surprise is debatable.  Jaan Sidorov in a Health Affairs article "It Ain’t Necessarily So: The Electronic Health Record And The Unlikely Prospect Of Reducing Health Care Costs" questioned the premise that the EHR would reduce the cost of health care.  In particular, Dr. Sidorov said "Not only are the EHR’s labor savings questionable, but increased billings are another likely outcome."

One reason for maintaining this website is to make the health community aware of the unintended consequences of technology including e-iatrogenesis in e-prescribing and the failures experienced in HCIT.  This information is critical to design HCIT that take a systems-oriented view of technology operated in an organizational and societal context.