It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Even though we are living in an age of a technology boom, our practice did the unthinkable: we went back to PAPER.
Two gastroenterologists share their previous struggles with electronic medical record (EMR) systems and their ascension into the age of wisdom.
Part I: Finally – an EMR System That Uses Technology to Modernize Medicine
By Elliot Ellis, MD, Team Lead, EMA Gastroenterology™
It was in the fifth year after completion of my gastroenterology fellowship at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital when my GI group practice implemented its third electronic medical record (EMR) system. Then we just gave up. All the products at the time were inefficient and led to us doctors spending longer hours to complete our notes. The results often led to bulky, impersonal notes filled with grammatical errors and were obviously generated from templates. The notes sent to the referring physicians made it appear as though there was no significant thought process in the often-complicated consultations. Referring physicians often had to flip through pages of superfluous information to obtain the relevant recommendations they were looking for. Even though we were living in an age of a technology boom, our practice did the unthinkable: we went back to PAPER. It wasn’t just that time is money (which it is!!), and it wasn’t just that excess time at the computer screen meant less time with patients (which it did!), but it was also that the quality of the final medical record was not up to the standards we wanted for our medical practice.
It was two years ago when I was first made aware of Modernizing Medicine’s Electronic Medical Assistant® (EMA™). EMA is a cloud-based EMR system with a native iPad application that was built by physician specialists for their own sub-specialties. It’s fast, slick and had all the specialty specific content in place but not in a templated form. This was the product I was looking for in gastroenterology but had not yet found. So when I was asked by the Modernizing Medicine team to join their ranks, I jumped at the chance to help build an amazing new GI-specific EMR system.
The product was built with a few key principles in mind. It had to be fast and save doctors time. It had to render notes that were fluent without pages of unnecessary bulky text. It had to have GI specific medical content, built specifically for gastroenterologists. Maybe most importantly: it had to MODERNIZE medicine. The product that we built had to have the ability to track individual patient outcomes, as well as group outcomes, to obtain scientific data on our treatment modalities. We wanted to create a gastroenterology product that used technology to improve efficiencies and improve medical outcomes. We wanted a product that helped rather than hindered, while providing an improvement in service to our patients and our referring providers.
I am proud to say that we have accomplished our goals. After developing the software from scratch, I have now been using EMA Gastroenterology in my practice for the past four months on 100% of my patients. It is saving me time. The native iPad app, along with advanced graphics and an intuitive user interface, allow me to interact directly with patients instead of staring at a desktop. The notes rendered are fluent. The referring doctors notes are succinct, rendering only key information. It is adaptable in that it remembers my preferences from patient to patient. I can track key outcomes on my patients and use that information to improve patient care. I can honestly say it helps me provide a more optimal service to my patients and to my referring doctors. It is finally an EMR system that uses technology to modernize medicine.
Modernizing Medicine is attending the American College of Gastroenterology from October 19 to 21 in Philadelphia. If you’re attending, please visit booth 1117 to demo EMA Gastroenterology and speak with our team. Dr. Julie Servoss, Medical Director of EMA Gastroenterology, and I will both be there, and we’d love to show you what makes EMA Gastroenterology so special.
Stay tuned for Part II: ICD-10, Meaningful Use, PQRS and LMNOP – Who Has the Time? by Julie C. Servoss, MD, MPH, Medical Director, EMA Gastroenterology