Advanced EHRs cut hospital patient costs by close to 10 percent

For hospitals using advanced electronic health records, per-patient costs were $731, or 9.66 percent, less than at hospitals without these systems, according to research from Medical University of South Carolina.

The study, published at American Journal of Managed Care, looked at records of 5 million patients treated at 550 U.S. hospitals. Only 19 percent were from advanced EHR systems, which the study defines as the stage 3 level of EHR implementation, including CPOE and clinical decision support.

The authors conclude that the costly investment in these systems in a way that meets Meaningful Use, is worth it, according to an announcement.

"Since many previous studies have shown that EHRs can improve the safety and quality of care in hospitals, the projected cost savings in this study provides additional motivation and builds the business case for hospitals to make the large investment in adopting and maintaining an EHR system," they wrote.

Nearly 80 percent of respondents reported multiple core measures and/or safety benefits from implementation of advanced EHRs in a survey conducted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and The Advisory Board. That study polled 33 hospitals that had achieved stages 6 and 7 of the EMR adoption model (EMRAM) scale.

A study of adult outpatients at Brigham and Women's Hospital and affiliated ambulatory practices, however, found no association between Meaningful Use and care quality.

That has some critics calling for an end to the Meaningful Use program. Amid hospitals' difficulty in attesting to the Stage 2 requirements, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) recently lauded new flexibility in the rule, including expanding the choice of certified systems and the option to attest using the 2013 definition of clinical quality measures in 2014.

To learn more:
- read the research
- find the announcement