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Spine Care of North Texas Reduces Redundant Documentation and Enhances Patient Interactions


Case Study

The Goals

  • Find an updated and easy-to-use orthopedic EMR with limited typing
  • Improve practice efficiencies with an all-in-one EMR and orthopedic practice management (PM) solution
  • Enhance patient interactions with patient engagement tools
  • Implement solutions quickly for a time-sensitive new practice opening

Key Benefits Experienced

  • Eliminated need for a scribe with spine-specific Protocols
  • Saved 20-30 minutes at check-in with patient portal and modmed® Kiosk
  • Improved visibility of patient balances and collections
  • Strengthened physician referral relationships

New spine care practice shares its success with an all-in-one orthopedic software solution


“Modernizing Medicine offers a true all-in-one system, with EMA and Practice Management, that streamlines communication and helps improve efficiencies across the entire practice.”



A Modernized Orthopedic EMR for a Tech Advanced Practice

Dr. Carll was working in a group practice for ten years, but in early 2018 he decided it was time to open his own practice. The orthopedic electronic medical record (EMR) system we previously utilized in the group practice functioned like a Word document that required an immense amount of typing. I knew with the goals Dr. Carll had for his new patient-centric practice that we needed an orthopedic EMR that was more up to date and user friendly. Over the years I experienced many different EMR systems and I was never impressed. My clinic supervisor and I began doing research online of the all the different orthopedic EMR systems on the market. We did numerous demos, but the only one that really stood out was Modernizing Medicine’s orthopedic EMR, EMA™.

EMA is technologically advanced and has a very intuitive user interface that Dr. Carll could easily learn to use. He really liked that the EMR came with built-in orthopedic content and that he could further customize it with his own spine-specific Protocols. This allowed him the flexibility to personalize the system to fit the way he practices, but in a way that he wasn’t bogged down by creating completely new templates from scratch.

Ready, Set, Go

The challenge with our practice was a very short implementation timeline. We did not want to have any down time or compromise our patient care. We left our previous group practice on Friday afternoon and opened Spine Care of North Texas on Monday morning.

The Modernizing Medicine implementation team worked with us to provide training and on-site support that aligned with our tight schedule. We held one weekend workshop and we felt comfortable enough to go live with onsite support. As we got up and running, we made impromptu phone calls or individual webinars as questions came up. Additionally, we could tailor the training received to individual staff roles. This flexibility allowed us to open our doors on the scheduled grand opening day and maintain maximum patient volume of 30-40 patients per day. In the beginning, it took some time to adjust to the system and set up our preferences, but everyone at the practice became proficient very quickly.

No Scribe Needed

Ortho_protocols in orthopedic EHRDr. Carll is very patient focused and it is important to him that his EMR system does not distract him from his patients. Previously in the group practice, he had to use a scribe to document exams due to the amount of typing. With the spine-specific content and the over 50 Protocols Dr. Carll has created in EMA, he can quickly and easily complete his own documentation without the need for a scribe. His spine Protocols are specific to his practice style and he can easily add patient-specific notes, if needed. It only takes Dr. Carll two or three minutes to fully document a visit. It has made him more self-sufficient, and his notes are more accurate and comprehensive. This allows him to focus his exams on interacting with the patient and answering questions, instead of typing up copious notes.

Improved Office Efficiencies

Modernizing Medicine offers a true all-in-one system, with EMA and Practice Management, that streamlines communication and helps improve efficiencies across the entire practice. Modernizing Medicine’s orthopedic Practice Management (PM) solution walks our front office staff through the check-in and checkout process, reminding them along the way of action items like collecting insurance information and patient balances.

With our previous system, the orthopedic billing functions and front office scheduling were managed in two different systems, and the front office staff who interact with the patients had no visibility into patient balances. Since the transition, communication has improved between our orthopedic billing department and front office staff now that we all work out of the same orthopedic practice management system. Now that our front office staff can easily see financial information, we can answer patient’s financial questions, and we have seen an improvement in patient collections.

Enhanced Patient Engagement

One of the main goals for us when evaluating new EMRs included enhancing patient interactions. We wanted a system that provided patient tools in addition to clinical and practice management solutions.

The modmed® Kiosk and patient portal help improve our interactions with patients. When patients set up an appointment, our staff sends them a link to the patient portal so they can provide information like prior health history, current medications, and reason for visit before their appointment in the comfort of their own home. The patient also has the opportunity to review and complete this information on the kiosk when they arrive for their appointment.

Without these patient facing tools, our patients would have to fill out paper forms at each visit and our staff would have to manually enter in all of the paper form information. With the patient portal and modmed Kiosk we save 20-30 minutes per patient of redundant data entry, and my staff can spend this time focused on better patient care.

Additionally, Dr. Carll uses the PocketEMA™ app frequently, as he bounces around among our three locations or the two local hospitals where he performs surgery. If he receives an unexpected call regarding one of his patients, he can easily look up their chart, medications and pharmacy information on his cell phone with PocketEMA. Additionally, he can access his schedule without having to inquire with his staff. The PocketEMA app allows him the mobility and accessibility to respond to his patients faster from virtually anywhere with an internet connection.

Fostering Physician Referral Relationships

One of my favorite features in EMA includes the ability to run a report on our patient referral sources. Since we are a spine specialty surgical practice, many patients are referred by other orthopedic or primary care physicians. With this report in EMA, I can see where each of our patients are referred from and how our referral sources trend over time. Dr. Carll sends all referring physicians a personalized letter thanking them for trusting him with their patient and summarizing the treatments discussed. Strengthening our physician referral network is critical to growing our patient population and practice.

Focus on Customer Satisfaction

Another differentiating factor which sets Modernizing Medicine apart from other EMR vendors is its commitment to customer service. We have always had a positive experience with the support team, and they even provide a process to collect product enhancement requests from their clients. This really makes me feel like our input is valuable, and that as our practice grows we will be able to work with Modernizing Medicine to ensure the solutions grow with us.

Gabby Hawkins

Gabby Hawkins

Practice Administrator

The practice manager, Gabby Hawkins, oversees Spine Care of North Texas and helps ensure patient satisfaction and quality care. Some of Gabby’s duties include credentialing with hospitals, serving as Dr. Carll’s physician liaison and assisting in training the administrative and medical staff. Gabby has worked beside Dr. Carll and his support staff for over four years and feels privileged to work with patient-focused advocates. Gabby is admired among coworkers for her upbeat attitude and dedication to her profession.