The vendors of the three most-used dermatology EHR systems – Modernizing Medicine and Nextech on the practice side and Epic on the hospital and academic side – are aware of the challenges they face in meeting dermatologists’ needs.
Avoiding redundancy is key, said Michael Sherling, MD, MBA, co-founder and chief medical officer of Modernizing Medicine, in Boca Raton, Florida. “Dermatologists need systems that capture structured data and don’t ask them to put in information and documentation they already put in.”
Dr. Sherling pointed to inquiring about smoking status as an example. “Once the dermatologist asks if the patient is a smoker, the system should collect that information and generate it for the measures that ask for it. It should automatically do the bean-counting in the background, and the amount of clicking needs to be kept to a minimum.”
Yet the question of interoperability remains, particularly when providers must join networks that may or may not “talk” to each other. For example, Epic has adopted Carequality, but is not a member of the CommonWell Health Alliance. Dr. Sherling, whose company joined CommonWell Health Alliance earlier this year, believes there is still much work to be done. “Vendors have a long way to go to talk to one another. [We need] a Rosetta Stone of what EHR systems need to talk to one another.”
Dr. Sherling agrees. “Telemedicine is not a replacement for in-person visits, especially when establishing patient relationships. But it can be a useful tool for follow-up care and between patients and dermatologists who already have a relationship and have full access to the medical record.”
Beyond that, Dr. Sherling sees a larger role for analytics. “Physicians should have the ability to mine their own data. They should be able to see how they are doing financially, operationally, and clinically, and they should be able to get to all of that data in a way that helps them visualize where they stand. Do they spend more money per Medicare beneficiary or perform better from a quality perspective than their peers?”
Such information should be actionable, Dr. Sherling added. “They need the information presented so they can make necessary changes to get their incentives and avoid penalties.”