Guest blogger Ryan Wineinger, O.D. of Wineinger Vision Associates offers his perspective on implementing electronic medical records into his practice:
If your practice has not made the switch to using electronic medical records (EMRs) yet, I bet one of your excuses might just be the same as the title of my blog. There are a multitude of different reasons that a practice does not want to transition into the adoption of EMRs, but looking ahead to the financial incentives from the HITECH Act that become available in 2011, the time to implement is now!
I’ll discuss some of the details of the financial incentives of using EMRs in a future post, but first, I want to share my own practice’s experience with adopting EMRs:
In 2003, our practice made the jump and began using EMRs. Until that point we only used our practice management software for scheduling, demographic information (recalls) and financial transactions. We weren’t sure how to go about making this change, but we laid the groundwork and slowly started to chip away at the process. Today, we file no paperwork in our office, and are much more streamlined and efficient, making the patient experience more enjoyable.
How were we able to do it? We devised four phases of implementation that covered every aspect of our practice. Slowly but surely, we essentially became a “paperless office.”
In our first phase of deployment, each doctor in our practice set up a running environment of ExamWRITER electronic medical records on their laptop. We set a goal to each enter one-to-two examinations per day as practice to get a feel for the program. The software was easy to use and we grew comfortable documenting examinations sooner than we expected in this type of environment.
Getting started and working through the first phase turned out to be the easiest for our practice. It was an important first step, but many challenges remained.
Questions about my experience taking that first step with EMRs? Leave me a comment here or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Next time: Our second phase – the optical side of things.
Thanks for reading,
Ryan C. Wineinger, O.D.