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Tales of Two GIs Part II: ICD 10, Meaningful Use, PQRS and LMNOP – Who Has the Time?

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Even though we are living in an age of a technology boom, our practice did the unthinkable: we went back to PAPER.

Two gastroenterologists share their previous struggles with electronic medical record (EMR) systems and their ascension into the age of wisdom.

Part II: ICD-10, Meaningful Use, PQRS and LMNOP – Who Has the Time?

By Julie C. Servoss, MD, MPH, Medical Director, EMA Gastroenterology™

When I was a GI fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital, I remember the rigor of learning everything about GI, liver disease, IBD, etc. and the excitement of doing procedures. I have absolutely zero recollection of sitting down with the practice manager and learning about billing. Money and reimbursement were not my concern. My job was to learn how to be a great gastroenterologist. Stop laughing!

Now, I know that many of you have the same memories and when we transitioned into practice, whether in the academic or the private practice setting, it was a very rude and painful awakening. I relied on my practice manager to fix all my superbills and I continued to live in my bubble of “I don’t have time to learn THAT…” But this approach failed. While I saw as many patients as the senior partners and did as many procedures, my billing numbers were always at the bottom. On top of that, my practice implemented an EMR system that was rudimentary, slowed me down and decreased my productivity. Despite the fact that I consider myself “tech savvy” and developed my own EMR templates for common diagnoses, I was still relatively inefficient. After a year in private practice, I decided to go back to academic medicine as a founding faculty member of a new medical school in South Florida.  In large part, I chose this for family reasons, but a small part of me didn’t want to deal with the billions of insurance authorizations, the hassles, the bureaucracy of clinical practice.

And then came EMA™ (cue clouds opening, sun shining). When I first saw the product, my reaction was immediate – “What a simple solution…GI docs create the medical content and the rest of the software team makes sure that billing, compliance, Meaningful Use, PQRS, GIQuiC are automated.” Automated. My favorite word. Automated means I do my job…as a gastroenterologist…and the software pulls the data it needs for everything else. So easy. Now what about the elephant in the room…ICD-10? Also done. EMA Gastroenterology is already built with ICD-10 codes linked to all GI diagnoses and cross referenced with existing ICD-9 codes. I know, because I checked the ICD-9 to ICD-10 translation for the most complex diagnoses like inflammatory bowel disease (there are 80 ICD-10 codes for inflammatory bowel disease, in case you’re curious).

A National Network of Gastroenterologists – in the Palm of My Hand

My next reaction was, “EMA Gastroenterology is not just a great EMR system. It also has the potential to act as a powerful tool for clinical research. As a cloud-based system with users all over the nation, EMA doesn’t have geographic boundaries. We can harness and analyze patient data from the entire network. Now that’s powerful. That’s transformative.” So I jumped at the chance to help build EMA Gastroenterology and am invigorated to reenter the clinical world with great confidence. I now have an EMR system that allows me practice gastroenterology the way I want – focused on the patients, on improving clinical outcomes. EMA Gastroenterology and its technology take care of the rest.

Modernizing Medicine is attending the American College of Gastroenterology from October 19 to 21 in Philadelphia. If you’re attending, please visit booth 1117 to demo EMA Gastroenterology and speak with our team. Dr. Elliot Ellis, Team Lead of EMA Gastroenterology, and I will both be there, and we’d love to show you what makes EMA Gastroenterology so special.