Like many other orthopedic surgeons, that was my daily mantra. Having run the gamut from paper charts, to expensive dictation systems and finally through multiple poorly written electronic medical records (EMR) systems, I was both financially drained and more than a little frustrated.
Every now and then, I reflect on the past: the painstaking process of completing notes. Slowly, arduously and painfully completing exam notes – and verifying the billing – is what drove me to want to work on a system that produces quick, accurate and beautifully legible clinical notes. I broke off my relationship with my old EMR system when I discovered Modernizing Medicine had a promise of the solution I had always dreamed of for orthopedics.
For the last two years, the team of orthopedic surgeons and programmers at Modernizing Medicine (including yours truly) has spent countless hours and creativity innovating an iPad-based EMR solution that allows me to leave the office after my last scheduled patient – and take nothing home with me except my iPad! I complete all of my notes in the 60-90-second intervals between each patient. Additionally, with EMA Orthopedics™, my billing and coding is finished and linked to my notes. Furthermore, our entire product is built around coding for ICD-10, so I’m completely prepared for the storm on the horizon.
Part of being a designer of EMA Orthopedics is my ability to have near instant gratification with my iPad product. For instance, one week in clinic I wanted a new way to produce notes and billing codes for the ultrasound exams and injections orthopedic surgeons routinely perform on shoulder patients. The next Tuesday night and Thursday afternoon I coded with the Modernizing Medicine team, including Java and iOS software engineers. By the following week, I had exactly what I needed in my EMR system when I saw my shoulder patients. Today, I can document my complete and limited ultrasound joint examinations and bill accordingly. What’s even better? All providers who use EMA get the same gratification; they, too, can document and bill accordingly.
The EMA Orthopedics team envisions, designs and executes solutions for other orthopedic surgeons. EMA is truly built by doctors for doctors.
I can’t overemphasize how convenient it is to have the versatility of a dedicated, cloud-based iPad EMR system. It gives me the freedom to have all of my charts with me virtually anywhere – simply by carrying my iPad. I can review and update charts almost anywhere from the surgery center, to the hospital operating room, to the couch in my living room. And the graphics on the iPad and the ability to capture images make EMA an invaluable tool when explaining injuries and surgeries to my patients. I can also use EMA to quickly send these notes and images to other consulting physicians or to the referring doctor.
I am extremely excited and optimistic about the future of EMA. Even as I type this, my colleagues and I are building EMA Outcomes™ for orthopedic surgeons utilizing all of the structured data from the notes. This means that we will be able to evaluate patient outcomes from each treating physician. With the simple touch of a button, we’ll see a visual timeline of a patient’s diseases and treatments over time.
The future of healthcare is opaque and complicated when it comes to payment and government insurance plans. By having a portable, quick and accurate note system that auto-codes ICD-10 correctly, and gives me usable outcomes measurements, I will be ready to tackle this burden without anxiety, and stay focused on patient care – what all of us who practice medicine want to do.