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Multitasking Made Easier with EMA Rheumatology

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L to R: Dr. Cheryl Aber, Dr. Elana Oberstein, Dr. Sandra Pagnussat at the EMA Nation 2014 users conference

“Multitasking:” The recipe for survival in a world asking more and more of healthcare professionals. Every morning I wake up, take a deep breath and hope that I can get “it” all done in one day. This characterizes the daily chaos of the work-life balance. It usually starts with a round of preparing brown bag lunches while simultaneously quizzing my three kids on their elementary school spelling words. As the after hours service is calling me to renew a patient prescription, the kids increase the background noise to a dull roar.

I find myself chronically doing two or three tasks at once as I move through the day-to-day grind. I often ask myself, how can I streamline the madness? Like most doctors, I am already very Type A. I like to have everything organized and thoroughly researched. I strive to maximize my time to get the job done. This attitude got me through medical school and residency, and has generally been my mantra in life.

In my personal life, I put systems in place to optimize my productivity. If my book club is meeting that week, I listen to the audiobook while I commute. I automate where I need to be with my smartphone, sending reminders and synching my calendar with every invite that comes in. I have my bills on autopay and afterschool activities on repeat registration. Technology has helped dissipate the sensation of being overwhelmed. In general, these techniques have served me well in my personal life, and fortunately, my family is thriving.

Now let’s turn to my professional life. Although I like to think of myself as representing the “good medical student syndrome,” it has been challenging to remain prepared and up to date with the latest data. I have struggled to keep up with what I like to call “the alphabet soup” – ICD-10, PQRS, MU, “oh my!” There is no way to stay on top of this manually with paper charts or dictation. Trust me, I resisted moving toward an electronic medical record (EMR) system in the past because it slowed me down, and I felt that I could still get by on paper. If I am able to automate my personal life to a certain extent, there is no reason why I cannot embrace technology and let it help me in my profession.

This year, I managed to complete the PQRS requirement and avoid the penalty by manually entering required data separately into a registry pertaining to rheumatoid arthritis measures. This was a laborious, extremely time-consuming task. Staff had to pull the charts, data had to be entered after hours and a subsequent report generated. As requirements piled up, the same concept of multitasking I described earlier had to apply to the workplace. This is where Modernizing Medicine’s Electronic Medical Assistant® (EMA™) has come to my rescue. After seeing how this platform saved providers time in other specialties, I knew it had to be an option for rheumatologists. I joined the Modernizing Medicine team one year ago to create our specialty-specific solution, EMA Rheumatology™, which I am proud to launch at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) in November 2014. I have spent two days a week for the past year coding this specialty-specific EMR system so that it adapts to the workflow of a rheumatologist. The content, exams and disease-specific diagnoses are able to improve efficiencies in the office because the software adjusts to each physician’s preferences.

EMA Rheumatology’s functionality goes way beyond generating a clinical note. At the time of the patient visit, simultaneous outputs are created. By the end of the visit, in real time, EMA Rheumatology generates multiple documents including a note, encounter form with ICD-10 codes, prescriptions, lab requisitions, imaging interpretation reports and patient educational handouts. In addition, the information is entered as structured data and can be utilized to complete PQRS measures if the patient is eligible. This is all done in the background at the point of care with no extra data entry on behalf of the provider.

As we move forward in complexity with coding and reporting measures, we need to be able to get the job done at the point of care. There is no time left to go back and duplicate work. We stay at the office late enough! Our goal is to care for our patients and stabilize disease. We don’t want to burden our schedules and our staff. EMA Rheumatology is the clear choice for this challenge, a smart option that can handle the growing documentation requirements and leave us more time to focus on what really matters – the patients. To see EMA Rheumatology and to find out more at ACR, please visit me at booth 726, request an online demo or participate in a webinar on Thursday, December 4.