EMR Doctor’s Blog: Ways to Save Money in a Modern Electronic Medical Practice: Part One

Posted on December 20, 2010 I Written By

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009.

As we all know from our efforts to save money and run a more efficient business, there are great ideas out there that we just haven’t discovered yet. With this in mind, I thought it would be fun and possibly helpful to discuss some tips I learned over the first year in private practice that have really added efficiency and productivity to my office.  I’m going to roll these out one at a time to keep the blog post size in check.

Tip #1. Use an electronic fax service tied to a dedicated fax email (electronic fax) account.

This allows you to download and attach any incoming old medical records that are faxed over ahead of time for an upcoming patient’s visit.  Any new studies that come in, such as labs or radiology study reports, can be treated in the same way.   It takes a few keystrokes and clicks of the mouse to get these into the patient records, and this saves all that paper and ink that used to go into paper charts.  We use a service called Metrofax.com, but there are a wide variety of services on the e-market, with different plans, bells and whistles, depending on what you need as the end user.  The baseline cost for Metrofax, which includes 1000 pages, is between $13-$15 per month, depending on whether you decide to have a local number or a toll-free fax number.  After the first 1000 pages, the cost is 3 cents per page.  Since we use about 2000 pages per month, the cost is somewhere around $35-40 per month.  Much better than paying for a fax machine that can eventually break and has ongoing service, paper and ink costs.

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009.

John’s Comment: You need to be careful about which electronic fax service you use. I haven’t done a thorough study of Metro Fax, but many of the fax services out there aren’t HIPAA compliant. This said, when done right, an electronic fax service is a great solution and saves a lot of time and money. See this review I did of sFax’s electronic fax service.