Ask managers or physicians about what drives revenue at their practices, and I doubt you’ll find one whose first response is, “our EHR!” In fact, I’m so sure of this, I might be willing to lay a wager. In most cases, EHR choices and the investment in getting EHRs up and running were driven by Meaningful Use requirements – not by a desire to use the technology to improve our practice business. It’s just not a natural reaction to think of EHR technology that way.
But now that most practices are several years into their grand EHR adventures, it’s time to start thinking about the technology differently. Even if you never considered the potential of the EHR to make your practice more profitable (besides earning Meaningful Use incentives), the technology has had the potential to do so all along. And, as the market consolidates down to a more select group of EHR players, the increasingly competitive environment has helped drive more innovation – meaning that your EHR is continuing to improve and add features that can help your practice.
Your EHR can contribute significantly to practice profitability on both the revenue and expense side.
Yes, you heard me right: it’s not just an efficiency tool. Your EHR can be a terrific marketing tool to help drive revenue, too.
Take, for example, the ability to create patient lists. This is a Stage 1 requirement, so most practices have tried this at least once – but perhaps never again. That’s unfortunate, because patient lists aren’t just useful for clinicians to track their activities, they’re also very helpful for marketing.
Let’s say, for example, you are contemplating a group visit program. Do you have enough patients with your target condition (say, for example, type 2 diabetes)? Can you further segment the list by age, sex, or address – to offer patients the option to join a group that is most convenient or comfortable for them?