EHR and Cost: Is "Meaningful Use" Meaningfully Reducing Health Care Costs?
The United States of America is one of the top spenders on health care per capita in the world; in 2013, we spent twice as much as France, a country known for having quality health care for its citizens (OECD, 2013). As a result, the federal government has mandated the use of EHRs in order to curb health care costs and improve health care for the citizens of the United States by increasing efficiency and interoperability of different health care delivery systems. The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs provide financial incentives for the “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology. However, there is growing doubt whether this monetary incentive is sufficient to offset the substantial costs associated with implementing and maintaining EHR systems (Fleming, Culler, McCorkle, Becker, & Ballard, 2011). Additionally, during this same time period, the landscape of health care facilities has changed; solo practices and small group practices have been acquired by larger health care systems who are more able to purchase expensive EHR technology. This study aims to consider the benefits and drawbacks of implementing and meaningfully using the EHR as well as discuss the specific financial and nonfinancial costs of EHR implementation. This study further aims to contribute to existing research as well as to suggest further topics of related research.