Named one of America’s most promising companies by Forbes, Modernizing Medicine’s cloud-based system and robust ophthalmology platform continue to stand out in the EHR field.
While an electronic health record (EHR) system may never be as fast as paper for the first patient encounter, the overall advantages of an EHR system far outweigh the extra time during that initial meeting. Follow-up visits, for example, can be documented much more quickly than with paper. When I made the decision to go into private practice a little over three years ago, I looked for a good EHR system and didn’t see anything appealing until I found Modernizing Medicine’s specialty-specific system, modmed Ophthalmology™. I was impressed with their native iPad application and progressive outlook.
Shortly thereafter I met the co-founders of the company, Dan Cane and Dr. Michael Sherling. I had experience in a former life doing some computer coding, and Modernizing Medicine’s approach is not to teach coders how to create medical software but to teach physicians how to code. I soon became their team leader for the anterior segment.
Things have changed quickly. These days, when I go to the surgery center, my colleagues that are on other EHR systems are still coming in with huge stacks of paper, and I’m coming in with just my iPhone and my iPad and seeing the real topography images and IOL calculations in high definition.
Cloud-Based and Smart
Medical practices are at the stage where they are not just looking into but purchasing EHR systems—and not everyone is satisfied. Some of the inferior products out there will likely disappear. Many companies don’t have the infrastructure to keep pace with all of the changes that EHR systems need to adapt to, as they require continuous programming. We have already started to see acquisitions in which companies are acquiring multiple EHR platforms, although no one to my knowledge has effectively merged platforms. I think at some point in the near future, only a few EHR systems will be left on the playing field. And Modernizing Medicine will be one of them, for a number of reasons.
First, it’s cloud-based, and I think this is the one and only way to do EHR systems. The way our medical records need to be maintained is always changing, whether it be ICD codes, meaningful use requirements, the physician quality reporting system (PQRS), etc. Purchasing a single EHR system means that within a few months it will be out of date already. With a cloud-based system like Modernizing Medicine’s, I pay a monthly subscription; every time an update is needed, it is made automatically and at no extra charge. I don’t need a big IT department to make sure everything is running correctly, just an Internet connection. I even have one cellular-enabled iPad in case I have a problem with my Internet service. It hasn’t happened yet, but if it does, I can just click on the cellular service on my iPad, and I’m up and running again.
Having a cloud-based system also makes doing things like prescribing medication simple and easy. When I get a call over the weekend, I know exactly who the patient is very quickly. I have the patient’s pharmacy information stored so medications can be refilled with a couple of clicks.
Second, Modernizing Medicine’s platform is extremely versatile. It can be accessed from a Mac or IBM, iPad, iPhone, Android—and now the Apple Watch. Plus, I have a flat-screen in the exam room connected to Apple TV, which costs about $300 to set up and allows me to project anything from my iPad. I can export, for example, a fundus photo or OCT to the big, flat-screen TV and then “draw” on it as if on a whiteboard. Not only does it have a real “Wow!” factor, but also my patient education efforts are bolstered with these illustrative visual aids.
Third, Modernizing Medicine’s system keeps a nice digital record of everything. For example, I can track intraocular pressures or central retinal thickness over time and then produce a global view very quickly of how a patient is responding to treatment. For meaningful use and PQRS data, I don’t have to toil over charts for hours; everything is electronically captured, so I can do the necessary calculations quickly.
Fourth, the platform is smart. I transitioned to ICD-10 without any fears because Modernizing Medicine’s system learns how I practice, including what my top diagnoses are. When I simply click on a diagnosis or a part of the eye, the platform uses the location of that touch to produce the exact ICD-10 code I need, and if any associated diagnosis needs to be entered, Modernizing Medicine’s EHR system prompts me for that.
Finally, we announced the development of a practice management system that will fully integrate with our EHR and revenue cycle management systems. The combination of these three forces will give ophthalmologists all of the tools necessary to run a successful practice.
Modernizing Medicine works with Eyemaginations, a company that is making it easier to fulfill meaningful use requirements. I can present the patient with a video explaining a particular procedure or disease instead of just explaining verbally. And because Eyemaginations uses computer animation, it helps remove the fear that some patients might feel at a live video or image.
More generally, Modernizing Medicine is looking toward the future by continually adapting to changes in the reporting environment. At some point there will be ICD-11 and new government mandates, which is why it’s important to have an EHR system like Modernizing Medicine’s that can implement those changes.
In term of ophthalmic practice more broadly, I think the large-scale collection of data from digital EHR systems like Modernizing Medicine’s will transform the way that ophthalmologists practice. We are already seeing that in cardiology; now, the American Academy of Ophthalmology launched the IRIS registry. EHR systems such as Modernizing Medicine’s that include analytics functionality have enormous potential in that it will be possible to look at almost any metric across thousands of practitioners and really develop patterns of evidence-based medicine that could shape the way we practice for the better.
David Goldman, MD, is founder and CEO of Goldman Eye Ophthalmology Private Practice in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, and Modernizing Medicine team leader for anterior segment.