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By November 9, 2009Commentary

The American Medical Group Association is one of the professional societies for group practices.  It surveyed members regarding their experience with electronic health records and practice manangement systems.  The responders tended to be relatively large physician practices.  Most said that EHRs were an important tool for which they had high expectations of benefit.  Most also said that implementation was difficult and disruptive, requiring very substantial planning, training and customization.  (Press Release, with link for detailed presentation)

The medical groups identified patience and persistance as key needs to maximize value and those practices that had been using EHRs for at least five years reported getting the most return on their investment.  That return was greatest in its impact on quality of care for patients.    Most respondents integrated their EHR with their practice management system, largely to help transfer clinical information for billing needs.  The survey is another valuable reminder that EHRs can provide benefits but getting those benefits is not an easy process.  As policymakers push for greater EHR use, they should not expect to see significant changes for many years.

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