The other day, a chiropractor called to discuss his reluctance to move his practice to electronic health records (EHR). There were a number of reasons, but it came down to he really didn't believe the cost and inconvenience of implementing the system were worth the value it would provide in the end.
by Mike Whitmer in Practice Procedures on Friday, January 2, 2015
And, by the way, he was thinking of retiring soon. So, he said, he wasn’t feeling any urgency to make any changes to how he managed patient records.
Let’s approach the first concerns. There is no doubt EHRs are creating some chaos for chiropractors. As human beings, change is difficult – even when we embrace it. There is no doubt that EHRs are change, but the benefits significantly outweigh the short-term challenges.
The benefit of EHRs include:
- Ease in identifying patients for follow up visits, whether routine or part of a planned course of action.
- Increased efficiency in tracking patient notes and data.
- Concrete record of care. Good EHR programs time stamp entries, so you can easily see when information was entered.
- Improved workflow because of reduced time committed to filing and finding patient files.
All of this contributes to a high level of patient care, which is the key to a successful practice.
Since we’ve established the value of EHRs, let’s factor in the retirement concerns because they shouldn’t be dismissed. The question that should be considered is whether the chiropractor is planning on shuttering his business or selling it.
To keep his options open, there should be consideration of moving the practice’s paper records to EHRs, especially if there is not a set retirement date. If selling a practice is a consideration, there will be added value because a new owner will have to look at making the move after the purchase. Ultimately, it makes the practice more attractive and higher value. In addition, even if in the end he chooses to close his practice, transferring patient files are easier in the electronic form.
So, yes, there is value in considering moving to EHRs even if you are nearing retirement age.
There is no doubt that moving to EHR will cost both time and money, but the overall value to the practice and patients will offset those costs – even if you are starting to think about retirement. However, this is a personal decision so make sure you are looking at it from every angle before you opt out.