EMRs Save Time for Building Medical Practices

Posted on January 9, 2012 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 in 2009. He can be contacted at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.

Was just sitting around at home last Saturday morning working on my business.

Wait a minute!  What?!  Not wasting time fishing through piles of paper charts on my desk, dictating or editing notes from last week’s patients?  What do I mean “extra time” on my hands?!  I’m a doctor after all, and I should not be having such a luxurious pleasure.  Work, work, work!  Mush, mush!  It’s been done this way for generations, after all, right?

Well, as a matter of fact I did do a lot of work last week.  I signed my last patient chart when he left my office on Friday at 5:20 pm.  The weekend arrived, and now I had time to work with my manager Ken on more productive and profitable avenues for the future.  (Yes, believe it or not doctors leading small practices must be business people, too.)  Ken used his time by banging out a contract for a new Nurse Practitioner that we’ve decided to hire, and I’m currently working on a contract for bringing on a second doctor later this year.

A business must be able to grow in order to avoid stagnation.  And in order to grow, you need extra planning time for implementation of the changes necessary for growth.  Much of the time savings for me comes from using an electronic medical record in my practice and learning to use it well enough to run on time throughout my days.

This past fall, we used saved/extra time to work with an architect to develop plans to expand our office space from roughly 1800 sq ft to around 3000 sq ft.  We took advantage of signing a lease on a neighboring space that was being vacated by a doctor who decided to move his practice out of our building.  We knew that we could build additional providers (MD and NP) into the practice if we had the extra space.  Do you know how much time a feat like this takes to pull off?  A lot.  And it helps if I’m not having to dictate chart notes all night long.  🙂   Food for thought.