Health providers want to provide quality care and improve patient satisfaction. Really, they do. It’s just that pesky problem of declining reimbursements getting in the way of meeting those two key business objectives.

This dilemma comes to you courtesy of a survey conducted by IVANS, Inc., the company that helps providers process health transactions. IVANS found that about 50% of provider derive over 50% of their income from Medicare. As Medicare continues to be fiscally challenged, providers’ fiscal pain from this payer will increase.

IVANS predicts that, “as the baby boomer generation retires and the demand for medical services increases, the operational and administrative challenges of servicing this larger population of
patients is expected to worsen this divide.”

IVANS’s provider poll found that they believe electronic health records (EHRs) would have a positive impact on these challenges. Two-thirds of providers have plans to or have already implemented EHRs.

There’s a financial obstacle here, though — 85% of providers said a “lack of budget” was the largest barrier to adopting IT.

IVANS conducted this survey in June and July, 2008.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: If you marry these survey findings with the statistics I talked about yesterday in Health Populi’s coverage of Pricewaterhouse Cooper’s Behind the Numbers’s forecast of health care cost inflation, the inextricable linkage between Medicare’s and providers’ fiscal health is crystal clear. As Medicare health fares, so fares providers’.

While the vast majority of ‘everybody’ believes that the adoption of the EHR would ultimately help better manage patient care and satisfaction, the fact remains that a large financial barrier continues to prevent many providers from getting on with EHR implementation. If Congress won’t take on comprehensive Medicare reform, their very short-term health policy objective must be to reduce that fiscal barrier to help providers adopt the IT they need to improve patient care.

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