Retaining independence is difficult for OB/GYN practices because of a complex healthcare environment. The purpose of this study is to determine if the implementation of a low-cost electronic practice management system (EHR) improves financial measures and care coordination.METHODS:
The OB/GYN practice involved in this study is comprised of 6 physicians and 6 midwives with 150 daily visits. The practice is a member of an Independent Physician Association (IPA) with 180 physicians across 100 practices in rural Georgia. An EHR was utilized for the purposes of this study. The criteria for selection: 1) no upfront costs, 2) care coordination with IPA members, 3) 24/7 patient portal access. athenahealth, a cloud-based EHR, was selected based on the study selection criteria.RESULTS:
• Net profit increased 12% in the first year of introduction of implementation • Days in Accounts Receivable decreased by 10.97% • Patient visits increased by 2.93% • No show rate decreased 16.22% overall • Automated, easily accessible quality data gathering demonstrated by improved care coordination with other IPA members.CONCLUSION:
This small study demonstrates the use of a low-cost EHR to improve financial outcomes and care coordination for an independent practice in a rural setting. The results of this study merit further investigation to determine how small practices can meet the needs of a 21st century patient population.