“All of the audits we’ve done have received scores of 97- 98 percent.”
LOST: Three Failed Practice Management/EMR Implementations
Like a plane flying in a circular pattern while awaiting clearance to land at an airport, Family Health Care & Minor Emergency Clinic in Oklahoma was in a holding pattern when it came to using an EMR. After finding fault with three Family Practice EMRs she had previously implemented, Toni Pratt-Reid, ARNP decided to discontinue using an Electronic Medical Record for seven months. This wasn’t an easy decision. After all, with five providers each serving 30 patients a day and plans to expand the practice, time was of the essence.
One of the three EMR systems which Pratt-Reid used was Amazing Charts. “This system was cheap, but it lacked many of the Family Practice EMR components we needed,” said Pratt-Reid. The second electronic medical records system, MicroMD was expensive and it was too labor intensive, according to Pratt-Reid. “We would have to have someone on site and an in-housed server. It was way too time consuming and expensive for a small clinic to have a full time in-house IT employee. And finally, SEQUELMed “just fell apart.”
FOUND: Permanent End-to-End Family Practice EMR/Practice Management Solution
After discovering Waiting Room Solutions on a web search and setting up a conference, Family Health Care & Minor Emergency Clinic got its EMR mojo back. “We took our time evaluating the system. We were ready to jump on board. We evaluated all components including the billing aspect. We wanted to see how things flowed from one program to another. We based a lot of our decision on the ease of use of the program and how the team could articulate their Family Practice EMR software program. Their ideas of expansion and their whole company concept really matched our company’s values,” said Pratt-Reid in her review of the system.
EXPANSION: Scalability and Accessibility = Successful Business Model
Accessing patient data from more than one clinic location is a necessity, not a luxury. It can be a hair raising experience for medical practices that rely on paper charts. After implementing WRS Family Practice EMR in November 2009, 10-year-old Family Health Care & Minor Emergency Clinic expanded from two to three locations. “We are able to use Waiting Room Solutions website for all of our clinics. Before we had to lug charts from one clinic to the next and now we don’t have to do that,” asserted Pratt-Reid.
EDUCATION: Portal Website Boosts Education and Efficiency
As patients become more educated, primary care practices must keep up with patients’ requests for additional educational materials and information about their treatment plans. “Patients are becoming more informed about their healthcare. They can get into the WRS patient portal and make changes and get some of their health history completed before they come in. The other thing that is wonderful about the patient portal is that many times when patients leave the office they’ve had so much information given to them. Along with our diagnoses, there are patient instructions that go to the patient portal. When patients get home they can look at those instructions, print them out and get a more in-depth understanding of their treatment plan,” explained Pratt-Reid in her review.
Pratt-Reid provided the example of how the family practice uses the patient portal to help a patient who has been diagnosed with onset diabetes. “There’s a patient information link. We have standard information that we want diabetic patients to know regarding their healthcare and lifestyle changes. We go over this information in the room and when patients leave, the instructions automatically go to the patient portal where patients can access them.”
Getting patients, particularly older, less web savvy individuals to use the patient portal can be an uphill battle. But a team effort can go a long way in converting these hesitant patients into newbie technophiles. “Everywhere that patients go, electronic medical records are popping up. In the past, healthcare providers took all of the information. Now patients have to do data entry for their medical history. It’s a team effort between the patient and the healthcare team, and once they get past that initial adjustment they like using the patient portal,” asserted Pratt-Reid.
ACCESSIBILITY: Beyond Four Walls of the Practice
When a practice has more than one location, it’s not uncommon for patients to visit more than one site. This can present a problem for providers who use paper charts. “With Waiting Room Solutions, patient's record and charts are available at all locations and we can instantly access them. Patients don't have to be anxious if they visit another one of our locations. Their chart is going to be available. Our staff doesn't have to search for charts anymore. The chart can be in a million places. Now, everything is accessible. They sign in and everything is readable and easy to navigate. In addition to finding information instantly, we don't have to interpret anyone's penmanship,” Pratt-Reid said.
Sending information to referring specialists and receiving information back from them is an everyday occurrence in an urgent care practice, but it can also be a major roadblock if they are using an EMR without faxing capabilities. “A really huge advantage with WRS is the fax queue. We instantly fax medical records and receive faxes in the fax queue and place information into the record. Just a click and we can get information or send it.”
REVENUE MANAGEMENT: Getting Paid Correctly and Completely
With multiple locations, Revenue Cycle Management can be a major impediment for a family practice that is very busy. “The codes are always up to date and WRS provides immediate access to all the codes. WRS checks to make certain that we have the proper coding for our EM office visits' billing. WRS informs us if we are coding correctly and if the bill is good,” said Pratt-Reid in her review.
COMPLIANCE: Acing EMR Coding Audits
Audits are the most dreaded obstacle for a busy family practice. But when Family Health was faced with an audit, they achieved excellent marks. How did they accomplish this? “We were able to send the auditors all of the criteria that WRS uses. We were able to say, ‘Here are our certifications. Here’s our standard of practice, this is how we get to these numbers. These are the latest standards.’ This shows what we are doing right. All of the audits we’ve done have received scores of 97-98 percent. Everything we’ve gone through has been spot on perfect.”
GROWTH: System Expands with the Practice
When a practice hires new employees, the thought of teaching them how to use an EMR can cause a physician and his practice manager to shake their heads. An EMR with a solid training program can save the day. “The webinars taught by the WRS Team are really helpful. You can take a new employee and sit them down with the training that is available and add them to the webinar. Training new people is very easy. There may be new portions and some enhancements that WRS makes such as Meaningful Use training and periodically, the government may require different things, so we need to upgrade our system. The training is very infrequent, but we still need to do that. The staff feels that Waiting Room Solutions is easy to navigate. They go into the system and we can train employees further once they’ve gone through the webinar and self-training program.”
PROFESSIONALISM: Elevating the Role of the NP
Nurse practitioners often express that they don’t get the respect they deserve as vital health care providers. This can cause friction between a nurse practitioner and an EMR company, unless the company is sensitive and respectful of their stature. “Waiting Room Solutions never referred to us as physicians through this whole process. They looked at who we were as providers and based their conversation on us and never made us feel like we were second rate. That is something that each one of my providers and staff were impressed with. So many of the competitors’ programs say, ‘The physician will be able to do this and the nurse will do that.’ I was the first independently opened NP office in Oklahoma. We’ve done a lot to get insurance in Oklahoma for nurse practitioners and to be identified here. We have a great reputation and a great set of practice networks with NPs and physician specialists throughout the state. The ability of Waiting Room Solutions to recognize who we are and to respect our profession went a long way with us,” said Pratt-Reid.
SATISFACTION: Family Practice EMR, As Good As It Gets
Can an EMR really take credit for being a morale booster? Judging by Pratt-Reid’s experience, the answer is yes. “Our staff is happy. There’s more organization to our whole system. Not having to look for pieces of information in unknown places—those things are how a Family Practice EMR makes it easier for the staff. It's fantastic that WRS responds in less than half an hour to my questions. If we face an issue, we'll know that WRS will address it rapidly,” said Pratt-Reid to conclude her review.