As a practicing rheumatologist and mother of three young children under the age of ten, I am perpetually trying to juggle my time. Between seeing my patient load in clinic and getting out of the office in time for flag football practice and ballet recitals, I live in a constant world of organized chaos. The work-life balance is difficult for all doctors, both male and female, as we are subject to increasing demands on our time from a compliance standpoint, specifically trying to stay educated about Meaningful Use (MU) and Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) measures. Meanwhile, ICD-10 looms over the horizon on October 1, 2015.
In addition, there are many new treatment options abound for our patients’ chronic conditions. This leads to yet another item vying for our time as we try to stay up to date on disease management, maintain our Continuing Medical Education (CMEs) and remain current on the new Board recertification requirements. I feel as though my Twitter profile says it all: “Finding rheum to do it all in 24 hours.”
I pride myself on providing attentive care to my patients who have complex medical issues. Rheumatology patients are typically on various medications that have significant side effects. They need close follow-up and require undivided attention as we try to stay one step ahead of any potential obstacles. Complicated autoimmune diseases render our field very specific, with a knowledge and workflow that separates us from our internal medicine counterparts. Thus, it should come as no surprise to anyone that trying to utilize an electronic medical records (EMR) system that is not specialty specific is not as efficient as a rheumatology-specific option.
I couldn’t bear another day trying to brave my way through dictating while trying to make it on time to my son’s karate belt ceremony. There had to be a better option, a more efficient yet thorough means of documenting disease-specific information. Then I was introduced to EMA™, Modernizing Medicine’s Electronic Medical Assistant®. This specialty-specific EMR system started in the field of dermatology and has expanded into the ophthalmology, orthopedics, plastic surgery, otolaryngology, urology, and gastroenterology specialties. Determined to bring this solution to my world of rheumatology, I joined the Modernizing Medicine family last year. I spend three full days a week seeing patients and devote the other two days to my role as the medical director of EMA Rheumatology™, coding medical content and building an EMR system specifically for my peers.
Perhaps you are asking why I would complicate my life even more taking on a new endeavor? Short of cloning myself, I knew that I needed a realistic option to keep up with my office demands. Thus, I embarked on the challenge to help create EMA Rheumatology. This cloud-based, MU-certified EMR system with over 200 rheumatology-specific diagnoses has most definitely changed my life for the better. EMA Rheumatology has everything I need to take a rheum-specific patient history and perform the necessary medical exam and joint count. I can order and interpret pertinent imaging options such as X-rays, DXAs, and MRIs. I can chart the administration of infusions and injections as well. I can get through a busy clinic day and walk out of the office to be that cheering mom in the baseball stand. Previously, I was dictating charts while in my car, on the treadmill and while my kids watched a video. I even dealt with repeat episodes of laryngitis from talking too much into my dictaphone. What a relief that is all behind me now. There is a brighter future for all rheumatologists in patient care with EMA Rheumatology. I now have “rheum” to take care of myself and my family, which in turn makes me a better provider for my patients.