Free EMR Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Join thousands of healthcare pros who subscribe to EMR and EHR for FREE!

“Prius Effect” of Non-Judgmental Reporting

Posted on November 29, 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.

@forbodyandmind – Scott Henady, MSTCM
“Prius effect” changing behavior via non-judgmental reporting – quoting Dr. Ravi Iyer #pfconnect

The above was a tweet from Scott Henady who attended the panel that had Dr. Ravi Iyer at the Practice Fusion Connect user meeting. Dr. Iyer made some really interesting comments about Non-Judgmental reporting of data that helps to improve behavior. He called it the “Prius Effect.”

A search on Google seems to indicated there are a number of Prius Effects out there. However, the one that Dr. Iyer mentions is the display in the Prius that tells you how much gas mileage you’re getting and when you’re using the battery versus the gas in the car. It becomes quite clear as you accelerate, your miles per gallon goes down and so most people’s automatic response is to not push the gas pedal as much. I know I’ve had this exact experience. Just by being informed of the consequence of what I was doing, it changes behavior.

I believe it was Dr. Iyer also that talked about the signs on the side of the road that display how fast you’re driving down a street. It’s amazing how this little piece of non-judgmental information gets people to do something they wouldn’t have done otherwise (in this case push on the brake and slow down).

I think we could see a lot of benefit from these non-judgmental reporting of data in healthcare and EHR software as well. In fact, this is true for both a doctor who can provide better patient care with the right information warnings at the right time and also to patients who aren’t taking good care of their bodies. Just by providing good information to people, we can see behaviors improve. That’s a powerful concept that I think we need to see more of in EMR and EHR software and in healthcare.

Guest Blog: HR Changes Coming to Digital Doctors’ Offices

Posted on 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.

Happy EMR Doctor’s Note:  Ken Harrington, PhD, is my practice manager and he accompanied me recently to the Practice Fusion Connect 2011 users conference on 11.11.11. Here are his thoughts on doctors’ offices that have made the switch to a digital work environment and the HR differences it will inherently bring.

I recently attended the Practice Fusion users conference Connect 2011 where I viewed a lecture on the evolution of the doctor’s office with the arrival of electronic medical record software systems. Many blogs and articles have already been written on (1) how EMRs are saving space in the doctor’s office with the elimination of the paper charts and (2) the saving of dollars with the elimination of staff to file and manage the paper charts.  However, I am finding in the office where I work that EMRs are also changing the HR aspect of the doctor’s office.

I am the Practice Manager responsible for coordinating hiring all new employees at The Washington Endocrine Clinic in Washington, DC.  When the office opened a little less than two years ago, there was no shortage of area doctors who wanted to offer their advice to Dr. West on how best to run the office and meet staffing needs. One of these suggestions was to keep costs down by not paying more than a minimal hourly wage for front desk staff.  Being a novice at running a doctor’s office, I followed this suggestion and employed people in this low price range.  What I found was that this salary range usually resulted in staff that had not completed a college-level education, had little experience in using the technology involved with an EMR, and seemed to have little motivation to push the envelope in terms of learning new skills.

Now I should mention that when this doctor’s office was set up, it was designed to be as paperless as possible. This meant that there would be no paper charts in the office, and every document related to a patient was stored in the EMR. A website was developed where new patients were directed for registering and reviewing the policies of the clinic. A high-speed scanner was installed to convert to a PDF form all documents that patients brought into the clinic, and an electronic fax was set up to convert all incoming documents to PDF files. All of this required staff who were familiar with working with such technology.  We thought it would be simple enough to teach anyone how to use all of this equipment and software, but this was not exactly the case.  We discovered that, while intellectual curiosity was a key human element required for excelling in this new world, such a characteristic was not present in our earlier workers.  Indeed, I remember it taking all day for these employees to complete tasks that are now completed in around 30-60 minutes by our newer staff.

We went through several employees before we finally decided that we would hire future employees with the minimum of a college bachelor’s degree and pay them a higher wage. What we found in doing this was a different type of employee. The employees we have in the office now are skilled enough with technology and time management skills from their college and corporate work experience to perform efficiently. The employees who are paid a higher salary bring to the office better customer service abilities, more intellectual curiosity, better problem solving skills, and team playership skills. As much as we liked saving money on previous employees, the skill set bought with such money was simply insufficient for a technology-centered doctor’s office.

Now some critics will say that, in the end, I did not end up saving money with the adoption of an EMR because I paid higher salaries. I do not agree with this thought.  The higher motivation among our current employees, we estimate, has actually been able to cut our staffing needs by an additional full-time person.

Other critics might say that the adoption of an EMR has created such a highly technical office that it will become too technical to manage.  Again, I do not agree. Our employees are so comfortable around the technology that they can usually figure out the answers to challenges that arise. They know how to clear a print spool when the printer hangs up. They know how to use a PDF converter program to sign a document or fill out a form without having to actually print it.  They know how to walk a patient through filling out and e-mailing the online registration form when patients encounter difficulty.

EMRs are changing not just the physical appearance of doctors’ offices, but also are changing the culture of the office through raising the bar for qualifications of people hired to run and manage the office.  It is not that employees paid lower salaries cannot learn these new techniques.  My point is that hiring employees who are more educated and skilled with using technology allows for a smoother transition into a paperless and technology-centered office. This fundamental change in HR will reshape the ethos of future physician offices.

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 and opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009.  He can be reached at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.  He blogs at HappyEMRDoctor.com and EHROutlook.com.

Practice Fusion User Conference Streamed Live

Posted on November 11, 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 actually love to participate in EMR user conferences. I love them most in person since then I get to talk to the actual users of the software and get the real low down on what it’s like to use that EHR software. In fact, if you have a chance to go to the user conference for an EHR software before you implement it, that can be extremely valuable.

While you won’t get the benefit of interacting with attendees, I’m happy that Practice Fusion Connect 2011 (the Practice Fusion user conference) is being streamed live (see embed below):

They could do better with the camera angle, but I applaud an EHR vendor that makes this stuff publicly available. Now time to go and check out the #pfconnect hash tag to meet users that way. Almost as good as in person.

Practice Fusion Unveils iPhone, Android Apps

Posted on September 27, 2011 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.

Practice Fusion continues to aggressively market to its ever growing user base, this time with the announcement of iPhone and Android apps under development.  These were previewed in prototype form at the Health 2.0 conference just today.  As of my writing this post, their press release was issued only three hours ago.  Seems like they must be close to unveiling the apps since it’s been known for a while that these were on the back burners in beta but now a PR newswire press release was just issued today.  We’ll have to stay tuned to see if they can last until Practice Fusion Connect 2011, on 11.11.11, before making the apps public.  Given PF’s mantra, I’m sure the apps will both be free to the public.  Can’t wait to have a native iOS app on my iPhone!  It’s the next natural step in their aggressive attempts to dominate the EMR market.

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 and opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009.  He can be reached at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.

 

EMR Development, Where are the Doctors?

Posted on August 15, 2011 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.

John Lynn, over at EMRandEHR.com recently wondered about Depth in an EMR Conference.  He recently attended the Health Tech Next Generation conference in San Francisco, where few doctors seemed to be present.  This is such a classic blunder in health IT: not checking with the end users to make sure what you are designing is on the right track.  To be honest, it’s what killed our first EMR experience and led us to fire the EMR vendor.  There was no clearly tangible evidence that a medical doctor was involved at all in programming the thing.  We felt like we were beta testing their system for them as they worked out “bugs” based on our suggestions.  Frankly, we should have requested three months worth of consulting fees in the end, but that’s a story for another time.

John also made the comment that he had never seen a true EMR conference focused on doctors, practice managers, and actual users of the EMR.  Hmm… I think Practice Fusion Connect 2010 did this to a large extent.  Lots of pics and videos from the event can be found here.  Better yet, I’ve already scheduled time to go the next one, Practice Fusion Connect 2011, which is being held in SF on 11.11.11.  It’s slated to be about  five times bigger this year according to my inside sources at the company, and they are expecting about 1,000 attendees.  When I was there in 2010, it seemed heavily focused on the end users, who seemed to make up a large portion of the audience.

John mentioned the important and puzzling question of “how do you get enough doctors together at an EMR conference?”  I’ll admit that one’s a tough nut to crack, since you are asking private practice docs to give up income to get to a conference during a weekday, on which most conferences like this are held.  If it’s held on a Saturday or over a weekend, that might help.  If the target audience is employed and salaried, then it’s not as much of a problem getting them there since they aren’t really losing any pay/income.  The problem with that is: employed docs generally don’t make buying and implementing decisions.  Those of us who do, typically are in small practices of our own.  An interesting conundrum to solve, but bring it on.  More conferences like this are definitely needed since American healthcare runs on private practice doctors, their managers, and their staff.

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.  He can be reached at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.