It's often times impressive, I think, to the patient when they're asking me at the end of the encounter "Well, should I just go up front and make an appointment with the nurse or with the staff?" I said "No, just tell me when you want to come in." And boom, I just copy the appointment from today and they're in.
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I think having electronic medical records really enables, improves the workflow in the office. And that's one of the biggest benefits that I see overall for electronic medical records is the intra-office communication because so much of what happens is between office staff.
For our patients when they come in, they're always impressed that we're on an electronic medical record. I don't think that too many other doctors they go with generally are. So that's nice. It kind of gives us an air of being advanced and on the cutting edge and our patients tend to like that where we are.
We had targeted a 2-3 year ROI, return on investment, on the actual tangible costs of the system, software, and training. But it was a 17-21 month actual ROI. The keys for our group were, we were not very good coders back then. We gave a lot of things. We lost a lot of supplies and coding opportunities and not only did e-MDs software help us capture that, it made all of us more aware of the nuts and bolts of what we do each day because we see it on a screen rather than barking an order and it kind of disappears into air.
We probably saw about 250 patients a day. And then maybe six months afterwards, we went up to about 350 patients a day for the whole clinic and we did that with probably missing 3 full-time front office staff, mainly medical records people. So we were able to see more patients with less support staff for us.
As a small business owner, as a nurse practitioner, which is kind of unusual setting in our area anyway, e-MDs gave me the ability to not have to hire a lot of people to do things that I could learn myself. So originally I did all the billing myself. I would see my patients between 8 and 5 and then I would put on my administrative hat and I became the biller. Now I've got a nurse, I've got a medical assistant, and I have two part-time nursing students currently that help me with my small business. I know what it takes to do the job and I know what it takes to do, run a medical practice with a small efficient staff. And using e-MDs is what helped me to become a very efficient micro-medical clinic for diabetes. That's my total focus.
The electronic health record saves lives. It speeds up treatment, avoids repeating costly tests that slow us down. It improves the application of public health recommendations in preventive medicine by allowing us to find populations and be more thorough. It allows us to use the available information and new information quickly and simply.