Duplicate EMRs cost hospitals dearly

EHR system
An EHR system.

Hospitals misidentify as many as 10 percent of incoming patients if staff performs a database search of existing electronic medical records.

These  misidentifications can cost hospitals a lot of money, according to Becker's Hospital CFO. That's because duplicate EMRs wind up being created for patients, which in turn can lead to one record lacking crucial information. Up to 12 percent of medical records in an EMR system can wind up being duplicates. That's primarily due to misidentifications that occur during the admissions process. Those misidentifications are linked to up to 40 percent of all claims rejected by payers for services.

The costs mount quickly from there. Citing various sources of data, Becker's Hospital CFO noted that the cost of repeated medical care due to duplicate records can average nearly $1,100 per patient. And since insurers typically reject duplicate medical procedures, hospitals are also on the hook for those costs as well.

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Those rejected claims also have their own costs attached. It costs about $25 to rework a single denied claim, the publication reports. Moreover, once duplicate medical records are discovered, merging and reconciling them is yet another expense that has to be incurred by hospitals. And a study from Children's Medical Center of Dallas can cost up to $1,000 to “cleanse” an inadvertently duplicated medical record, according to Becker's Hospital CFO.

The fiscal issues surrounding hospital-based EMRs tend to mirror what has been going on in the physician community. Although one study suggested that hospitals with advanced systems delivered care at lower costs than hospitals without such systems in place, a study by American Action Forum, a nonprofit think tank, published last year suggested that the return on investment for EMRs took many years, and that any increases in revenue due to the presence of an EMR were not necessarily related to its presence and improved productivity.

– read the Becker's Hospital CFO article

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