Do I really need to get an EMR?
Shopping for an EMR? Unsure if you want to take the plunge and get an EMR? $44,000 over 5 years is really not that much money when you look at the overall budget of a medical practice. Maybe you can simply hold out, let the stimulus money go to someone else, and continue to do business as usual. I expect some may feel that that approach is right for them.
If you are not aware of all of the different funds that are becoming available, start reading. This site has a lot of information, as well as other sites. Aside from the $44,000, some insurers are paying those that are using EMR's on a higher scale. Malpractice carriers have discounts for those using EMRs. There are CMS programs - PQRI and eRx for those that do Medicare work; 4% can add up to several thousand dollars for next to no effort reporting. There will be negative funding - taking money back if not electronic in years to come. The writing has been on the wall, now it is in print. Yes, you need an EMR. It makes sense if you want your practice to survive. Aside from those issues already mentioned, new reimbursement models are also being developed that are based upon performance. You can't prove performance unless you have electronic data to create the reports.
Clinically it makes the most sense. I expect that no provider is doing 100% of everything they need to do for their patients. You need to pull reports of clinical data to see what you are missing, where you need to focus more effort - diabetic patients overdue for appointments/care, monitoring labs that are overdue, screening tests that were not done. Some may argue that advice was given, it isn't the physician's responsibility to get the tests done. Your malpractice carrier would likely disagree. If a patient didn't get testing done maybe you did not explain the necessity adequately, maybe the test was done and you never got the report - a dangerous situation that can be recognized by reviewing outstanding orders.
If you are reading this and have not pursued getting an EMR, I expect the only reason you are on this site at all is because you know what you need to do. If you are implementing or have implemented an EMR and have colleagues that appear unwilling, encourage them to get started. We can't make this (US healthcare) work unless we get everyone onboard.