The passage of the Affordable Care Act has led to the beginning of a new era in American healthcare industry. In addition to pushing for more people to obtain insurance, the federal government is seeking out new and experimental ways to reduce rising healthcare costs.
While many disagree on the proper form that reform efforts should take, surveys show that efficiency efforts are popular. According to a recent article on Forbes, 78 percent of respondents said that "more efficient channels of delivery" should lead to better cost control. Fifty-four percent support government efforts that would make this happen.
This innovation has taken numerous forms. Some healthcare organizations are looking at ways to reform their structures and save money through better efficiency. Others are looking into new technology.
Electronic medical record (EMR) systems are a popular area of investment, and for good reason—the federal government has already mandated their adoption. But many who have used these tools claim that they have, in fact, resulted in safer and higher quality care that in turn reduces costs.
For example, last month Trinitas Regional Medical Center President and CEO Gary Horan told The Star-Ledger that EMRs are making it easier for clinicians to interpret orders from doctors and ensure that patients get the right medication, since they no longer have to discern poor handwriting. EMRs also make it easier to check for drug interactions.
Medical mistakes are both dangerous and costly, and avoiding them is an important step toward more reasonable medical costs. Hospitals looking to upgrade to EMRs should seek out healthcare consulting firms to guide them.