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Learning from One Doctor’s Experience with EMR – EMR and EHR Interviews

Posted on June 7, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This is the first in a series of EMR, EHR and Healthcare IT interviews that will be done on EMR and HIPAA and EMR and EHR. The full EMR interview with Dr. West can be found on the new EMR, EHR and Healthcare IT interviews website. The following is a summary of that interview written by Kathy Bongiovi.

If you’re a doctor, nurse, practice manager, EHR consultant, CEO or executive of an EHR vendor, etc with EMR experience that’s interested in being interviewed, let us know on our Contact Us page.

In a recent interview with Dr. West, an endocrinologist in Washington D.C. and blogger at Happy EMR Doctor, the doctor discussed his experience in finding an EMR capable of fulfilling the needs of his specialized practice and, at the same time, saving him time. Dr. West discussed the arduous process of going from a failed to a successful EMR system.

His first experience with EMR was frustrating and he ultimately ended his relationship with the vendor. West heard other horror stories regarding failed EMRs and was convinced if he kept trying he would find an EMR that would fit his needs.

Dr. West advises other doctors and healthcare professionals to avoid rushing into any relationship with an EMR vendor and to make sure that when they sign a contract, first make sure the contract has a “satisfaction and money-back guarantee”. He suggests that anyone searching for an EMR, should find a vendor willing to let them try out their product for at least a month with no strings attached. Dr. West adds that the doctor or healthcare professional should also make sure there are not a lot of very specific hardware requirements in case the provider needs to change vendors.

Although some studies suggest a decrease in productivity with EMR systems because of a lack of customization for given specialties, West is not suffering from any of those issues and gives the credit to his EMR, Practice Fusion which is free and web based. The doctor has been able to customize templates to fit his specialty in endocrinology and is therefore able to see patients faster and complete their notes by the close of business. The benefits of customized templates, in his practice, allow “a more uniform approach to common problems, such as diabetes and thyroid nodules.” He goes on to explain that the result is a “well-defined path of questions designed to gather the most meaningful and relevant information” from the patient.

An EHR thorn in Dr. West’s side is his decision to not participate in the government’s EHR incentive plan. He thought he’d pursue the path to meaningful use, but after a great deal of frustration he abandoned his pursuit of the government’s EHR incentive money. West stated he may blog about his inner struggle with this issue. If so, his comments will appear in his blog Happy EMR Doctor.

The interview also touched upon Medicare’s recent practice of eliminating consultation codes and the consequences of this practice. By eliminating codes, Medicare has restricted providers’ ability to bill in certain instances. This has led to Dr. West and others turning away Medicare patients thereby restricting some patients’ access to care.

Dr. West’s EMR success should give all doctors and healthcare professionals the incentive to conquer the EMR puzzle and regain some of their personal time now spent handling and maintaining paper charts.

Full Disclosure: Practice Fusion is an advertiser on this site. However, they didn’t know we were doing this interview with Dr. West. Also, Happy EMR Doctor, Dr. West’s blog, is part of the Healthcare Scene blog network.

EMR and Healthcare IT Article Run Down

Posted on May 19, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I imagine most of my readers know that I’ve launched the Healthcare Scene blog network. EMR and EHR is one member of the blog network along with 7 other blogs that have been announced with 6 more blogs that will be announced shortly (Have you found them already?). We’re growing rapidly and expanding the number of people that are sharing great content with the world of healthcare IT and in particular EMR and EHR. The goal of providing a platform for the independent Healthcare IT voice is becoming a reality.

It’s a really exciting thing to be a part of. The most exciting part of it all is the amazing people that I get to work with and the content they create. Here’s a quick glimpse at some of their content with my thoughts on their posts.

EMR and HIPAA
Neil Versel recently started posting a regular weekly column on EMR and HIPAA. Check out his latest post on clinical decision support and an update on Dr. Larry Weed. Reading articles like that from Neil help me to appreciate more fully the history of healthcare IT. I’ve admittedly showed up late to the party, but Neil provides some interesting perspectives based on his knowledge and experience in healthcare IT. Here’s my favorite quote from his article:

“Patients may surmise that a physician who uses a [decision support system] is not as capable as a physician who makes the diagnosis with no assistance from a DSS.” I then noted that Weed has been saying for more than 50 years that physicians shouldn’t have to rely on their memory to make clinical decisions when computers can help them process an increasingly voluminous knowledge base.

Meaningful HIT News
Neil’s blog Meaningful Healthcare IT News is also a member of the Healthcare Scene blog network. How can you not enjoy a post entitled Skype for “Redneck Telehealth”? Sometimes, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

Happy EMR Doctor
What doctor isn’t interested in reading another doctor’s perspective on “Getting a Life with Electronic Medical Records,” “Gag Orders and Bad EMR Systems,” and a Doctor’s issues with PQRI Incentive Money? Those are the latest topics from Dr. West over on Happy EMR Doctor. Of course, now that Dr. West has gotten the blogging bug, his EMR gave him a life and his new blog has taken it back. I always appreciate a practicing doctor’s perspective.

Smart Phone Health Care
I’d been covering a number of mobile health care and mHealth related topics on this and my EMR and HIPAA blog, but the topic has become so popular that I knew it was time to start a mobile health care related site of its very own. I’m now doing it in partnership with David. He’s been churning out some interesting posts about Cell Phones Saving Lives in Africa and a Mobile App that Could Detect an Acute Stroke. I’ve always seen one of the major developments of mobile health happening in the developing world where the IT networks aren’t yet in place. Mobile phones can have such a tremendous impact for good. It’s beautiful to learn about. Although, mobile health is still in its infancy in the developed world as well. Personally, I’ve been trying to kick around some mobile gaming app that would encourage activity (ie. movement). Far too many of us sit in front of our computers all day. Healthcare would be so much better if more people just moved (written as I sit in front of my computer).

EMR, EHR and Healthcare IT News
This site is still very young, but just hit it’s 100,000 pageview mark. That’s a result that I would have never been able to predict. Although, news like the one posted today about the First Medicare EHR Stimulus Checks is something that many find interesting. If you know of other news we should be posting, let us know.

EMR and EHR Screenshots
The most recently announced member of the Healthcare Scene blog network is a website called EMR and EHR Screenshots. There’s still a lot I want to do to improve the interface for viewing the various EMR and EHR screenshots, but I think the concept is really interesting. My goal is to aggregate as many of the EMR and EHR screenshots as I can get. Hopefully that will mean even screenshots from the same EMR and EHR software as it releases new versions of the software. I’d love to have screenshots of CPOE, ePrescribing, scheduling, charting, diagnosing, etc. Basically if you’re interested in knowing what an EMR looks like or what it looked like previously, we’re hoping to provide you that view into an EMR’s development. A lofty vision. We’ll see how many EMR and EHR vendors, doctors, and other users will support it.

See what I mean when I talk about the amazing content that’s being generated. This doesn’t even include the great posts that Katherine Rourke is doing on this blog and my own posts (which could be classified as good or bad).

As I mentioned, I have 6 more blogs to be announced shortly. So, keep an eye on Healthcare Scene to see what will be announced next.