Wonder How Central Dermatology Center Saves Time and Money With Modernizing Medicine’s Dermatology EHR?
Dr. David Todd DeVries shares his story on how Central Dermatology has benefited by switching to the EHR system, EMA™
A Tough Decision to Switch Our Dermatology Electronic Health Record (EHR) System
As a practice, we made the challenging decision to switch dermatology EHR vendors. With a practice of 13 providers and additional office staff, the choice to change systems was a difficult undertaking, but necessary in order to improve productivity.
Our previous server-based dermatology EHR system included software that we purchased for a large lump sum of money, in addition to ongoing additional costs for new user licenses and continuing support. Such an investment made the failure of the dermatology software particularly difficult to accept, but we knew this solution was not working for our practice and recognized the sunk costs. The system routinely went down and had multiple elements that made its use cumbersome, complex and impractical. We found that we spent extraordinary amounts of time building customized office visit templates that did not meet the needs of our general dermatology, cosmetic and Mohs offerings.
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It didn’t help that we received inadequate training from our previous vendor. The first day of using the system our patient flow ground to a halt, which resulted in panic, pain and frustration for our staff. Despite a tremendous investment of time and money, our productivity quickly plummeted 20 to 30 percent during the five painstaking months of using the system.
We knew we needed to research other solutions. We participated in a demo of EMA, the dermatology EHR system by Modernizing Medicine® , and were instantly impressed with its ease of use, dermatology-specific content and detailed notes. Also, the cost for EMA made switching a less-risky proposition, because it didn’t require a lot of capital and continuing fees. We implemented EMA for our medical dermatology practice in July 2012 and Modernizing Medicine helped ensure a successful transition. Our staff was quite wary of going through the process again in less than a year. Thankfully, Modernizing Medicine had an excellent training program, and we engaged with the team over several weeks. The company has a great and easily accessible support site for clients as well.
Goodbye Dermatology Templates
EMA understands and adapts to the way I practice. Computer software experts who seemed to understand nothing about dermatology or how best to chart a visit designed our previous system. With Modernizing Medicine, dermatologists working with technology experts designed EMA to create an intuitive EHR system for their peers. EMA collects data in real time and enables me to touch and tap my way quickly through an exam while generating a detailed note in minutes.
Now imagine a visit note in an EHR system in which each of the relevant elements are accessed by means of a tab system. As you and your scribes frequently move back and forth among various tabs, it adds complexity and the possibility of missed information, plus considerable time to document even simple office visits. That describes the situation with our first EHR system. We had to customize it to become functional, and we had to build the templates ourselves. In essence, we had to learn the language of the software.
With EMA ready to use right out of the box, we did not skip a beat in productivity. Every disease state has a list of morphologies, potential plans and patient-specific counseling. The visit notes are easy to digest in a single, scrollable web page and in a context recognizable to physicians regardless of their specialty. The intuitive, condensed fashion in which the notes are presented allows us to easily communicate with referring providers. Also, e-prescribing with EMA has demonstrated unequivocal success. It has timesaving capabilities and helped decrease the risk of errors. Generating notes, prescriptions and refills with EMA is far simpler than with my previous dermatology EHR system.
EMA Pays for Itself
EMA automatically suggests ICD-10, CPT and modifier codes based on my notes and populates them onto a bill for review. Prior to EMA we found we provided a higher level of service than what we billed. The automatic coding in EMA is one of the ways the system has paid for itself, and it allows us to capture far more revenue. We’ve had outside consultants assess that our level of coding is consistent thanks to EMA’s help.
Beneficial Dermatology EHR Features
I enjoy the additional features EMA provides too. In dermatology we have unique needs for documenting precisely. With the 3D Interactive Anatomical Atlas™, I can mark where a particular problem exists on the body and rotate to view front, back or side. I can see specific maps for the genitals, oral cavity, hands, feet, head, neck and more for very specific detailing of procedures like cryotherapy, surgery, as well as site-specific counseling. The cancer log and task management features save so much time, particularly with having multiple office locations. We no longer have to worry about misplaced paper charts. Anyone across the organization can access the patient information or medication list and respond to an urgent phone call. We also love the photo management capability. We can take a photo with the iPad and it’s immediately uploaded to the patient’s chart. EMA enables the high level of service our patients deserve.
Interactive Anatomical Atlas
Improved Healthcare Technology
Modernizing Medicine continually updates the system, incorporating improvements and adequately publicizing the changes via email and webinars. A great example includes the pathology module we now use, which streamlines the pathology process and allows for more timely reporting and access to patient results. Our pathologists appreciate the degree of clinical correlation the system provides. For example, if we’ve taken a small punch of a lesion, the pathologist can see where the body sample was taken from. Also when diagnosing rashes, they can view those images in the patient chart and see what we see.
EMA has also made MIPS reporting easier to manage so I can delegate this responsibility to a staff member. With the help of EMA, I achieved an estimated MIPS score of 100 points without it being a burden or deflecting from patient care. We made the right decision to implement EMA and plan to use the EHR system for years to come.
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Key Benefits of Modernizing Medicine’s Dermatology EHR
- Eliminated templates and saved time with automated notes
- Increased revenue through automatic coding
- Streamlined processes that improved patient care
- Achieved an estimated MIPS score of 100 points
David Todd DeVries, MD
A dermatologist serving Cary, Sanford, Durham, and Chapel Hill, N.C., Dr. David T. DeVries began his education by earning a bachelor of arts degree in English literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He then received his medical degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed his training as a dermatologist at the University of Rochester. To learn more about Dr. DeVries and Central Dermatology, you can visit the practice’s website.