"When the federal government began providing billions of dollars in incentives to push hospitals and physicians to use electronic medical and billing records, the goal was not only to improve efficiency and patient safety, but also to reduce health care costs.
But, in reality, the move to electronic health records may be contributing to billions of dollars in higher costs for Medicare, private insurers and patients by making it easier for hospitals and physicians to bill more for their services, whether or not they provide additional care."
EMRs make it very easy to bill, just like the increase in billing we saw with EDI, if it didn't cost a doctor anything to send the bill why not bill anyone, anything, for everything. We got far more junk claims when the cost to bill was pushed to us, we pay to receive EDI claims, from the provider, they get it free or a flat rate no matter how much they bill.
We are seeing the same thing with EMRs, it makes it easy to document and bill additional services rendered, upcode existing services, or bill for services never done. Instead of documenting tedious medical records now you cut and paste.
Every time the government promises us savings instead we get higher cost, then endless speeches on the failure of private markets to control cost. And those that think single payor or global billing(anything but FFS) would solve these problems;
"In e-mailed statements, representatives for both hospitals said the increases reflected more accurate billing for services. Faxton also said its patients required more care than in past years.
Over all, hospitals that received government incentives to adopt electronic records showed a 47 percent rise in Medicare payments at higher levels from 2006 to 2010, the latest year for which data are available, compared with a 32 percent rise in hospitals that have not received any government incentives, according to the analysis by The Times"
Sicker and "more accurate" record keeping will do in any global pay scheme just as well as it does FFS.