Do EHRs Lower Billing Costs? In Short, No

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Doctor EHR Computer ScreenEHRs have been touted as a way of bringing greater administrative efficiency into medical practices, but do EHRs lower billing costs? In short, no.

According to a recent study from JAMA, EHRs do not lower administrative costs associated with billing. Administrative costs made up as much as a quarter of professional revenue for some patient encounters, according to the study.

The study found that “the estimated total time to process a bill for the least expensive type of encounter, a primary-care visit, was 13 minutes, at a cost of $20.49. The average time for the most expensive type of visit, an inpatient surgical procedure, was 100 minutes, at a cost of $215.10.

Costs associated with billing were even higher when researchers took the cost of the EHR software into account, rising to $32.52 for a primary-care visit and $319.80 for an inpatient surgical procedure.” (Modern Healthcare)

What does this mean for practices who have (or haven’t) adopted EHRs?

The study results suggest that the issues with administrative costs aren’t solely due to issues with data sharing and organization. The study’s authors hypothesize that much of the administrative burden comes from the fact that different insurance companies do things differently, a burden that is passed on to the billing department.

While there’s not much practices can do about insurance companies, there is a lot practices can do when it comes to simplifying their billing. Our number one recommendation is to outsource.

Outsourcing your billing reduces the overhead burden associated with hiring billing staff and allows you to pass your billing on to an experienced team who has been handling billing and coding for practices for tens of years. Your patients receive excellent customer service when it comes to billing questions and you get paid faster. Want to learn more? Contact us today.

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