EHR Systems: Causing Problems?

The rapid adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHR) in hospitals has presented notable inefficiencies for healthcare operations. According to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, physician adoption of EHR systems is up to 75%, which makes EHR functionality critical. Escalating costs, the increased number of errors in billing, and the threat of medical fraud have incurred these results:

  • Vulnerability to computer crashes can halt operations
  • Only 14% of physicians shared information with doctors outside of their organization (2013)
  • Different EHR systems have not been programmed to communicate with each other
  • Losses per doctor: $43,743

The Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine, has suffered from the inefficiencies of the EHR system they adopted, and have paid for it: 2013 reported a $13.4 million operating loss over a 6-month period, a loss that was not anticipated upon investing $160 million in the Epic EHR system. A large factor in this financial loss is the hospital’s inability to accurately charge patients for the care received through the system, a flaw that has obviously cost them.


A large cause for financial mis-charges is from EHR companies not fully training physician staff when and how to charge for medical services. Epic EHR systems require input of financial charges when the service is performed (IV, shot, etc.), a step that physicians at the Maine Medical Center were unaware of. A better understanding of how EHR systems will help increase their usability, and increase the function it is meant to enhance: communication.


Has your hospital benefited from EHR implementation?