Reinventing the EMR wheel

Posted on September 16, 2013 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

Going to dictate this one.  I’m really trying hard lately to get back into the blogging mode, although it’s been a busy year, I’ll have to admit.  From bringing on a fourth provider to running through staffing problems in the middle of the summer to saving enough money for a second unbelievable expansion of our office slated for April 2014, it’s been a whirlwind!

Finally had some time this weekend to take a breather, though.  It seems I’m always reinventing the wheel on how to run a completely efficient practice and get everything done while making it all look too easy.  Let me be honest, making it look easy usually includes a lot of late nights and weekends hours.  It ain’t all glamor, ha!  But for the past two weeks, I’ve been able to get all my charting and nurse practitioner notes supervised, edited, tied with a bow, and delivered/signed off on, by Friday at 5 PM.  All while seeing 20 patients that day myself!  (Thank God she’s off on Friday.)

What does this have to do with electronic medical records? Actually a lot. Pretty much everything I do on a daily basis requires my electronic medical record.  I’m pretty much glued to it.  The most interesting part has been the number of times over the past few years, since opening our practice, that I have been able to get everything done in the week by Friday at 5 PM, only to be knocked off my king-of-the-hill position when adding a new complexity to my business.

I love it when I meet an entrepreneur out within their first year of owning and running a business.  We went to a lovely spice market this weekend in the union market in DC.  Bazaar Spices is a great little start up.  You should check them out if you have a chance.  A nice lady and her husband started this enterprise nine months ago and they have quite a nice selection.

Hearing her speak reminded me about all that we have gone through in our own business over the last three and half years (four years in December!  Yeah!).  I recall another fellow doctor who opened his practice in DC in primary care about 15 years ago, and he says that every year is a new set of lessons to be learned.   It never gets easier.  Apparently, there is no resting on your laurels in this business.

My piece of advice for this blog post for any doctors or other providers out there using electronic medical records is to figure out what would you rather do the least on the weekends, and then do this during the week.  Plan for some rejuggling of priorities as you bring on new providers and additional tasks into your workflow.  Then save the easy stuff for the weekends if you have to.  Usually it flies by and your personal life comes back faster.