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EHR: Increasing Adoption, Increasing Complaints

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By Phil Cohen

Electronic health records (EHR) are steadily gaining traction, yet as more doctors and hospitals move toward fully digital records the problems with EHR are also growing more apparent.

The Obama administration began a $30 billion incentive program in 2009 to encourage the use of IT in the medical profession, which includes annual benefits for doctors that transition to EHR and may result in future penalties for non-compliant doctors. Despite some delays in full implementation of the program, however, many medical professionals are now pushing for further “relaxation of the rules.”

Complaints about EHR’s shortcomings range from user-friendliness to cost and have actually created new issues for practitioners to address.


Primarily, the current batch of compliant EHR products is monolithic and difficult to use. Programs require lengthy training and are not compatible with other programs, undermining the goal of seamless communication between facilities. Officials on the tech side of the Department of Health and Human Services attribute this technology gap to early adoption for payment incentives, noting that current systems were constructed for outdated billing processes rather than the holistic patient monitoring that the government wants to accomplish.

Quality of Patient Care

Due in part to issues with the tech itself, current EHR models are also accused of reducing the quality of patient care. One nurse describes the impossibility of balancing data entry of vitals with adequate patient monitoring, while others lament the unnecessary complexity of systems that make every process take longer. In addition, medical professionals with privileges in multiple hospital organizations may end up learning more than one EHR system due to the incompatibility mentioned above.

“Crushing” Debt

Purchasing EHR systems and subscribing to support have driven up operating costs for most hospitals, to the point that National Nurses United has claimed that EHR spending has led to the elimination of nursing positions. While that may be up for debate, an indisputable effect of early adoption is the downgrading of several hospitals’ credit ratings because costs have not fallen sufficiently to offset this new debt.

Despite these significant shortcomings, there are also some benefits emerging. In cooperative systems, doctors and other practitioners can access records outside of their office. Also, doctors have reported receiving immediate results from ordered tests. The general consensus of professionals in health IT is that hospitals will have to work through these growing pains in order to see the professed benefits of a fully electronic records system.

If your cash flow is suffering from debts incurred by EHR or slow payments from early adopters, PRN Funding can help. Our healthcare factoring programs are designed to provide an immediate source of working capital when you need it most. Contact us today to learn more.


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Phil Cohen

About the author

Philip Cohen is the founder and President of PRN Funding, LLC. PRN Funding is an extraordinarily focused niche player in healthcare funding. With years of…... Read More

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