Case Study

National Spine & Pain Centers Streamlines Workflow and Saves Time With the Pain Management EHR system, EMA™


The Challenges

  • Increased administrative burden
  • Decreased patient satisfaction
  • Wasted time customizing templates
  • Negatively impacted overall business operations

Key Benefits Experienced

  • Specialty-specific electronic health records system
  • Intuitive functionality helps save time
  • Cloud-based technology allows for real-time documentation
  • Organized structured data streamlines workflow

60+ location practice benefits from pain management software.

“Before we went through the vetting process I wasn’t confident any EHR system would live up to our accuracy or efficiency on paper. EMA has proven me wrong saving me at least five minutes per patient encounter. I have the ability to see the same volume of patients than I was with paper, sometimes even more.” 


This post was originally published on April 26, 2016 and updated on January 11, 2019.


In 2012, National Spine & Pain Centers (NSPC) made the decision to implement an EHR system across their multiple Maryland locations, which quickly proved to be an unsuccessful endeavor. Dr. Aneesh Singla, lead physician on the EHR taskforce at NSPC and also current medical director of pain management for Modernizing Medicine, explains, “When I moved to Maryland to join NSPC, they were in the process of transitioning from paper to an EHR system that their Virginia locations had been using. Although they weren’t exactly enamored with the system, the templates were already built and functioning, plus they received their federal incentive. The thought of adopting something new seemed far from appealing.”

“Because I’ve had a lot of experience with EHR systems throughout the course of my medical career, I was tasked with being the office to pilot, develop and implement this system across our Maryland region. Unfortunately that process was plagued with problems creating less efficiency, lower patient satisfaction and increased administrative burdens. I knew that if we continued using this system, it would have eventually led to a decrease in revenue. Also, the first generation of EHR systems were not designed with pain physicians in mind; in my opinion they were built primarily to serve as billing platforms with the clinical needs of the providers as an “add-on” feature. We needed to have additional staff dedicated to building templates that constantly needed changing based on individual provider preferences. After only three weeks, I decided the risk was too high and convinced administration to allow us to stop using the software and go back to paper charts.”

“Once 2015 approached, we knew we needed to make a decision on an EHR system before the federal disincentives would harm us,” said Dr. Singla. “Our internal taskforce went through a due diligence process that included a great deal of research, demos and communications with multiple vendors. Modernizing Medicine’s pain management EHR system, EMA, rose to the top of our list. What appealed to us was the specialty-specific platform is built around the clinician as opposed to the clinician having to customize it, like our previously attempted EHR system. It is also designed for the iPad in a cloud-based operating environment which provides us with the portability and versatility we had hoped for.”

“The implementation of EMA for my office was handled by a phased-in-approach that worked beautifully. We were not willing to accept any decrease in patient volume during this process. We began with seeing a few patients each day in EMA with the remaining balance seen in our traditional, paper-based format. Then, we ramped up our volume daily, which became easier over time since the pain management EHR system is designed to adapt to the individual clinician. Our goal was to select a system that would allow us to see the same or more number of patients, which is what we’ve experienced so far in using EMA.”

Adaptive Learning for Pain Management Software

EMA is developed by practicing physicians and intuitively adapts to Dr. Singla’s unique workflow. “We worked closely with Modernizing Medicine to help build the pain management content. That’s the beauty of the system; it is designed and coded by real pain management physicians that understand our workflow and it’s constantly evolving,” he shared.

“EMA does a nice job of learning our preferences for particular diagnoses and procedures we perform. It gives me the ability to enter a diagnosis and then automatically displays my top plans. I don’t have to search through multiple screens; in just a few clicks, I’m done. Another great advantage is the organization of structured data. I may review an MRI, note or receive lab results from an outside physician and the system allows me to manage that information effectively. I also like the photo functionally that the iPad offers. If a patient has a disc herniation of L4-5, for example, I’m able to take a photo of the MRI image and attach it to the patient’s chart. Now when I explain the diagnosis to the patient that picture is at my fingertips electronically and I’m able to refer to it anytime I need to. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words and my patients truly appreciate me engaging them on this level.”

Documenting Faster With Pain Management Software

The tap and touch technology of the iPad EHR interface has helped increase efficiency, saving Dr. Singla time. “EMA is far more user friendly and intuitive than other EHR systems I’ve experienced. I really enjoy using the iPad and the portability it provides is very convenient,” said Dr. Singla. “Unlike other systems, I don’t have to keep logging in and out numerous times and multiple users can be in the system at once, documenting in real time. Also my note, coding and billing are all in one, whereas with other systems I felt as though everything had to be built separately. Now with EMA these processes are streamlined, enhancing our workflow.”

“Before we went through the vetting process I wasn’t confident any EHR system would live up to our accuracy or efficiency on paper. EMA has proven me wrong saving me at least five minutes per patient encounter. I have the ability to see the same volume of patients than I was with paper, sometimes even more.” 

Future Growth

“Our previous failed EHR system experience put us in a position where we couldn’t afford to make any major mistakes. Throughout this process with Modernizing Medicine, any time we came across an issue their team rectified it quickly or we worked together to come up with a solution. We really appreciate their responsiveness and it proved what a solid company they are. We are a very busy practice with lots of growth ahead and we look forward to working with Modernizing Medicine and having our pain management EHR system, EMA, grow with us.”

Want to learn more about the pain management software Dr. Singla discussed?


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