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Keywords:

  • informatics;
  • computerized medical record systems;
  • emergency medicine;
  • hospital financial management;
  • cost and cost analysis

Abstract

Objectives:  The objectives were to measure the financial impact of implementing a fully integrated emergency department information system (EDIS) and determine the length of time to “break even” on the initial investment.

Methods:  A before-and-after study design was performed using a framework of analysis consisting of four 15-month phases: 1) preimplementation, 2) peri-implementation, 3) postimplementation, and 4) sustained effects. Registration and financial data were reviewed. Costs and rates of professional and facility charges and receipts were calculated for the phases in question and compared against monthly averages for covariates such as volume, collections rates, acuity, age, admission rate, and insurance status with an autoregressive time series analysis using a segmented model. The break-even point was calculated by measuring cumulative monthly receipts for the last three study phases in excess of the average monthly receipts from the preimplementation phase, corrected for change in volume, and then plotting this against cumulative overall cost.

Results:  Time to break even on the initial EDIS investment was less than 8 months. Total revenue enhancement at the end of the 5-year study period was $16,138,953 with an increase of 69.40% in charges and 70.06% in receipts. This corresponds to an increase in receipts per patient from $50 to $90 for professional services and $131 to $183 for facilities charges. Other than volume, there were no significant changes in trends for covariates between the preimplementation and sustained-effects periods.

Conclusions:  A comprehensive EDIS implementation with process redesign resulted in sustained increases in professional and facility revenues and a rapid initial break-even point.

ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2010; 17:527–535 © 2010 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine