I can’t find a stat on that, but I can tell you that the electronic medical records market is worth over 2 billion annually, and that 20% of tests are repeated because of inefficiencies in paper record systems — I’d assme that the cost of those tests far exceeds that of paper.
Both the initial and the storage cost of paper medical records is less than that of EMRs, but as dtsang mentioned, paper records result in significant time, efficiency and accuracy expenditures that can be avoided with the use of EMRs.
This means that though paper records seem impractical for the sheer amount of waste they potentially generate, the real incentive behind switching to EMRs lies in the desire to prevent medical and drug errors and to increase medical record accessibility to health care providers.
What remains to be seen is the environmental impact that widespread electronic records systems will have. Though EMRs can improve patient care, the amount of energy required to keep EMR computer equipment running at all hours will certainly not reduce the health care field’s already sizeable carbon footprint.
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