Dr. Daniel Stein of Coastline Orthopaedics shares his orthopedic EHR success story
Leadership at Coastline Orthopaedic Associates, located in Fountain Valley, Calif., contemplated switching from paper charts to an orthopedic EHR system for years. With 12 providers and over 45 office staff members, chart storage became an issue. In addition, they wanted to avoid penalties enforced by upcoming government requirements, so they began researching systems. Dr. Daniel Stein shares his perspective.
Selecting an Orthopedic EHR System
We wanted an orthopedic system that was more accurate and required less handwriting. At times, notes on paper can be unrecognizable, not to mention inconvenient when it comes to storing numerous charts. Years ago, I actually created a template of my own in an Apple word processing program that I used on my laptop, but I spent too much time documenting at the end of the day. Neither solution worked.
For about one year, my team and I evaluated orthopedic EHR systems. To be honest, at the time we were unconvinced that any would be the right fit for our practice. All the systems we researched were similar to each other in that they were very cumbersome, required a lot of typing and had outdated technology. I envisioned a simple system that functioned on a tablet.
A dermatology colleague recommended EMA, the EHR system from Modernizing Medicine®. I attended the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons meeting and saw demos of a few different orthopedic EHR systems, including EMA. Once I learned that EMA automatically generated CPT and ICD-10 codes, I immediately knew I had found the right system.
Another important aspect in making our decision was that other systems we had reviewed required a huge investment of capital plus maintenance and upgrade fees. EMA made a lot of sense in that it was cost effective and didn’t require a lot of hardware purchases since it’s hosted in the cloud. The vision I had for an orthopedic EHR system was very similar to what EMA represents.
Once we made the decision, we prepared by taking online courses provided by Modernizing Medicine and then had two trainers come to our office. Immediately after training, we implemented EMA in phases by seeing a few patients at a time. Within four months of using the system we were paperless — a significant accomplishment.
An Orthopedic EHR Designed by Orthopedic Surgeons
I find it beneficial that orthopedic surgeons developed and continue to update EMA. The orthopedic medical knowledge built into the system allows me to touch and tap my way quickly through an exam. The fact that experienced orthopedic surgeons help design their experience into the program as opposed to only technical engineers who have never been in an orthopedic office proves invaluable. Not only is the intuitive interface convenient, I trust that EMA includes the diagnoses and treatment options I use. The orthopedic system recognizes and adapts to my style of practice. Also, I know that Modernizing Medicine routinely updates the orthopedic software so I don’t have to worry about maintaining it regularly. Their team handles the updates automatically for us.
Saving Time and Increasing Efficiency with Our Orthopedic EHR
The convenience of the cloud-based, native iPad application enables me to save time throughout my day while still providing quality patient care. There is no question that EMA saves me time. I can see twenty new patients and finish one hour to an hour and a half earlier than in the past. If I consider my time saved, that equals to saving over $125,000 per year.
Before EMA, I would enter a room to see a patient, hand write my notes and populate them into my homemade template later. Now as I see a patient, I can document my notes in real time so when I leave the exam room, my notes are complete and I’m ready for the next patient. Productivity has definitely increased in the sense that I can get out of the office sooner because I’m more efficient throughout my day.
Providing Better Patient Care at Our Orthopedic Practice
Another important aspect of EMA is that it’s cloud-based, which allows the staff access to patient information from almost anywhere with an internet connection and enables us to remain accessible while out of the office. I use PocketEMA™ on my iPhone so I’m able to access patient information, including MRI reports, while I’m in the operating room. With EMA, we can better answer medical questions regarding our patients while we are offsite.
Patients comment on how high-tech we are, and I try to maximize their involvement in their care. I use the images loaded in EMA for choosing touch sites on the 3D Interactive Anatomical Atlas™. I’m also able to attach X-ray and MRI results which I share occasionally with my patients. I can look up their doctor’s name or pharmacy right on the iPad in front of them, and they’re really impressed.
How Automatic Coding Helps Increase Revenue
EMA comes with a built-in ICD-10 coding solution that automatically generates billing codes for nearly effortless billing. The CPT and ICD-10 calculations EMA provides are seamless and more accurate than our previous solution. The coding automation has aided in increasing our monthly revenue. EMA has actually helped expand my knowledge on how the orthopedic billing process works, and this has been a very helpful feature. Most experts believed you should save up to three to six months of income because of the disaster ICD-10 would bring. EMA produces the codes like a little genius, and that is a huge weight off our shoulders, both mentally and financially.
The Future with Our Orthopedic EHR and Modernizing Medicine
We are very happy and we will continue to use EMA for many years to come. It’s been a very smooth transition, and EMA has made it easy for us to switch from paper. Whenever I talk to anybody regarding EHR systems, my excitement for EMA shows.
Key benefits of using Modernizing Medicine’s orthopedic EHR system experienced at Coastline Orthopaedics include:
- Streamlined orthopedic workflow with an easy-to-use iPad-based application
- Improved efficiency saves time daily
- Increased revenue resulting from automatic coding
- Enhanced patient engagement improves experience