Electronic Health records are preferred to be used instead Paper Health Records. The records reduce the space needed for storage, increase the ease of data access, and also improve accuracy among other benefits to healthcare. Despite the fact that using EHR reduces operation cost, the initial cost of conversion to the technology tends to be high. This paper examines the financial, as well as economic costs incurred during conversion from Paper health Records to EHR.
Key words: cost, data, records
Adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHR) requires investment of time, as well as money, and many doctors are often slow to adopt the system due to its high cost and the complexity of the process. In order to achieve proper implementation of Electronic Health Records, a large sum of money is required (Mann, 2013). This paper examines the financial and the economic cost for a healthcare organization in converting Paper Health Records to EHR.
The high amount of money needed for conversion is necessary for the conversion of paper charts to electronic ones, the purchase of both software and hardware, and the training of end users. A study carried out in 2002 in a 280-bed acute care hospital indicated that a seven-year-long program of UHR implementation would cost US$19 million. Implementation of EHR also disrupts work flow for end users, as well as medical staff, which causes temporary loss in productivity. This stems from the fact that the end users have to spend much time, estimated at 134.2, learning how to use the new technology. A study conducted in several internal medical clinics reveled that health care providers often lose 20%, 10%, and 5% in the first, second and third months of implementation respectively (Menachemi & Collum, 2011).
In addition, there are risks associated with the conversion with regards to the multibillion dollar price tag, as well as the long time necessary for conversion. Budgets are often just estimates. Usually, the majority of projects have an in-built buffer. Those who borrow in order to invest in EHR often have to pay back the same amount in monthly installments together with interest charged on the same. Unfortunately, the time set for the borrower to begin paying the money back in monthly installments may elapse before EHR is installed or ready for use. They often have to pay back with interest (Hardy, 2013).
In conclusion, Electronic Health Records are quite important as they increase efficiency in health care provision. However, the implementation of the process takes several months and has high costs. Nevertheless, the system is relatively cheaper in the long run once the conversion is complete.