EHR Transition May Be Financially Risky For Hospitals

Marla Durben Hirsch | FierceEMR | April 30, 2013

Adoption of expensive electronic health record systems may hurt a hospital's bottom line, despite promises that the new systems will increase efficiencies and lower costs. Yet another hospital is reporting that the high cost of implementing a new EHR is having a negative effect, with Henry Ford Health System reporting its investment in Epic being a major factor in a 15 percent decrease in net income--from $62.9 million in 2011 to $53.1 million in 2012.  

While HFHS still experienced financial growth overall, the $356 million EHR investment--coupled with an increase in uncompensated care--impacted revenue. 

Reports from Henry Ford, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and others incurring financial hits due to health IT investments raise concerns within the industry about the value and risk of implementing such expensive systems, especially for facilities that already are on shaky financial ground. In a recent blog post, Edmund Billings, chief medical officer for Medsphere Systems, Corp.--which develops OpenVista EHR--called proprietary systems a threat to a hospital or health system's financial viability. He warned that some hospitals will go bankrupt...