INFOGRAPHIC: 4 Ways EHRs Are Saving the Environment and Your Agency

July 12, 2016

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The proliferation of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and their adoption has amassed benefits that reach beyond provider and patient efficiencies and compliance, to the health and sustainability of our global environment. Digitized patient records not only reduce paper use, but patient travel and reliance on plastics used in traditional x-ray films and other waste, said a recent Kaiser Permanente report. As more and more healthcare organizations embrace technology as a result of pay-for-performance, patient-centered medical home and accountable care organization healthcare models, a ripple effect of human health and global sustainability improvements ensue, validating the necessity of health IT implementation and adoption.

View the infographic to learn the end-to-end benefits EHRs have on the environment and your agency:

  • Reduced Paper Inefficiencies and Usage
    Today, there are 12,871,500,000 healthcare transactions per year in the U.S. Of those, 43% of transactions are electronic – saving about $23 billion; 468,214 trees and nearly 4 billion sheets of paper. These statistics are pretty staggering, but an even more important metric to note is that paper charts are missing as much as 25% of the time2, and even if the chart is available, critical healthcare data is missing in 13.6% of patient encounters3.

  • Increased Patient Safety & Satisfaction
    The care experience and patient outcomes improve when providers and clients can easily engage and communicate electronically. Not only do EHRs improve legibility and access to clinical notes, but they can provide reminders about patient allergies, dosages or when tests and preventative services are upcoming or overdue.

  • Limited Emissions & Gas Consumption
    The ability to refill prescriptions online and use patient portals for non-emergency issues reduces unnecessary office visits, leading to decreased emissions and gas consumption. A recent Kaiser Permanente survey that measured the environmental footprint of EHRs reported that gasoline consumption by patients was reduced by about 3 million gallons per year through individuals avoiding non-urgent medical office visits4.

  • Enterprise-Wide Benefits
    EHRs offer enterprise-wide benefits to healthcare organizations by streamlining, personalizing and integrating healthcare delivery. By providing real-time visibility into process workflows, EHRs eliminate redundancies across departments and agencies and deliver actionable intelligence to lower costs and improve care delivery. EHRs also automate key administrative processes by providing pre-built forms that facilitate reporting to agencies.

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Sources:

  1. Going Green = Easy + Save Money, DocComply
  2. Tang PC et al. Measuring the Effects of Reminders for Outpatient influenza Immunizations at the point of clinical opportunity. JAMIA 1999;6:115-121
  3. Smith PC et al. Missing Clinical Information During Primary Care Visits JAMA 2005;293:565-571
  4. E-Health Records Produce Some Environmental Benefits, Information Week, Healthcare