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Practice Fusion · Oct 27, 2014

The Hidden Cost of Paper Charts

In January of 2014, 39% of office-based physicians reported that they still use paper medical charts, with the assumption that it’s easier, more efficient, or saves their practice money.

This is simply not true.

Outlined below are just some of the hidden costs of paper.

Missing tasks

Delegating tasks with colored fluorescent sticky notes on top of patient charts, lab orders, medication refills, follow-up appointments and more is a completely unreliable task management system with no way of tracking if the tasks were actually completed.

How much revenue is lost when a referral is missed? Or when a follow-up appointment is never scheduled? Multiply that by the volume of your practice over a year and the result is thousands of dollars lost.

EHR’s allow you to streamline your workflow with task management, instant referrals, integrated lab ordering/results, and audit reports to ensure your practice is working as efficiently and accurately as possible.

Inefficient appointment booking

Whether you’re using a physical appointment book or the limited scheduling feature attached to your billing software, manual scheduling can cost your practice thousands of dollars every year.

For example, if your practice schedules 50 appointments a day, and your office staff is spending four minutes calling and confirming each patient, that’s over three hours a day dedicated to the appointment book. Multiply this by five days a week and you’re looking at an expense of over $11,000 each year.

With Practice Fusion, appointment reminders are sent automatically, allowing your office staff to focus more on patient care instead of the appointment book. You can also enable online scheduling from your EHR settings so patients can also schedule their own appointments online through your practice’s profile on

Lack of connectivity

Many providers rely on blood glucose reports to assess the needs of their diabetic patients. However, these reports are frequently recorded on paper in the waiting room prior to the exam and can easily be lost.

Integrated lab results provide instant access to all of your patient’s lab work. This can be reviewed, summarized, or even aggregated into trended results (without having to flip through pages of pixelated fax results).

Preventable errors

There are an estimated 210,000 preventable deaths a year due to inaccurate or unavailable medical records. That’s over 500 preventable deaths every single day. An EHR can help give every provider the full clinical picture of a patient’s health and deliver more accurate drug-drug and drug-allergy interaction checks.

An EHR can help improve the health of your practice

If you’re still holding onto paper charts, the hidden costs are adding up. In less than five minutes, you can start charting in an EHR from Practice Fusion and save your practice time and money.