Digital Assent, provider of the award-winning PatientPad® self-service patient check-in and patient education solution, has partnered with PatientNOW, a leading provider of electronic medical records (EMR) solutions for aesthetic-focused practices, to automatically transfer patient check-in information entered via the PatientPad to the physician’s PatientNOW system.
“Digital Assent’s partnership with PatientNOW will significantly improve a patient’s experience from the moment they walk through their physician’s door,” said Tim Collins, CTO and co-founder of Digital Assent. “Everything is electronic and automated, which decreases time spent filling out paperwork or a doctor shuffling through paper for health information. Physicians will also benefit from reduced clerical errors and transcription costs.”
The PatientPad is a wireless touch-screen solution that automates the patient check-in process and delivers targeted health information and advertising to interested patients while they sit in their healthcare provider’s waiting room, exam room or treatment room. Since the beginning of the year, the PatientPad has enjoyed rapid adoption by physician practices in more than 30 states.
Along with a comprehensive and certified EMR solution, PatientNOW offers fully integrated marketing, customer contact and patient process tracking tools to increase efficiency and revenue creation for each practice. This unified EMR and practice management solution is tailor-made for the aesthetic medical provider market, including plastic and cosmetic surgeons, dermatologists and medical spas.
“Aligning ourselves with Digital Assent and the PatientPad is a natural fit for both companies, which are two of the pioneers leading the conversion from paper to electronic health records,” said Jerry Jacobson, president and co-founder of PatientNOW. “Capturing data electronically from the patient and pushing it automatically to the PatientNOW EMR system is a tremendous value and time saver for every one of our practices.”
The first office to go live with the integrated solution was The Skin Spa of Newnan Dermatology, located a few miles south of metro Atlanta in Newnan, Ga. “Now that PatientPad integrates with PatientNOW, our front-office staff no longer have to waste time and energy manually entering patient data,” said Trisha Kennedy, Director of The Skin Spa.
This partnership follows on the heels of Digital Assent’s recent $7.5 million Series B equity funding, which the company is using to more rapidly grow its market share and product footprint. Earlier this year, the company received a $2 million Series A round of funding to expand its leadership team and launch a national sales campaign.
The specialty of plastic surgery is no longer listed in the bottom 5 specialties reporting usage of electronic health records software, according to a report from SK&A.
In October 2010, only 25% of plastic surgeons reported office use of EHR. Listed among the bottom specialities at the time were psychiatry, plastic surgery, osteopathic manipulation, baritatrics and holistic medicine.
Within one year, plastic surgeons evidently adopted EHR at a rate that lifted them out of this bottom five, while the other specialties remained. Primary care physicians are believed to be leading the way in EHR adoption.
SK&A has a federal contract to measure EHR adoption. You can view the report document in PDF here: Physician Office Usage of Electronic Health Records Software
During a switch to EMR, you may want to notify your patients about security of their electronic medical records. A recent survey conducted by the Xerox company shows that many people are concerned about stolen, lost or damaged medical information.
According to Business Wire, patients concerns include:
If you’re using an EMR already, it’s wise to reassure your patients about security of their records. It may help to explain how paper records have their own security disadvantages: they can be damaged, lost or stolen more easily than electronic information.
A new article in the Seattle Times explains the many advantages of e-prescriptions, for both doctors and patients.
Benefits outlined in the article include:
Overall, the article shows that e-prescribing technology is improving the efficiency of medical practices – especially those writing many prescriptions.
On the popular site Technorati, Patrick Malone discusses the “Slow Evolution” of EMR in a recent article. He writes:
“Despite a vigorous campaign by the federal government and some large health-care providers to move the nation’s patient records from the Jurassic Age of paper to the Electronic Age of digital communication, most physicians and clinics have been slow to embrace the transfer.”
Among the impediments to EMR acceptance among doctors, he cites patient privacy concerns and lack of uniformity between medical record systems.
Read more on Technorati
According to a recent Reuters news article, 64 percent of people polled by the University of Chicago felt the benefits of electronic medical records outweighed concerns about privacy.
“A large majority of Americans support use of health IT to improve healthcare and safety, and reduce costs,” said Daniel Gaylin, the executive vice president for research at the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center.
Gaylin suggests that doctors using EMR are more likely to share relevant information with their patients. “It facilitates the exchange of information,” he tells Reuters.
As part of a special program, students at Tulsa Community College are learning to bridge the gap between information technology and medical records. As the government-subsidized switch to EMR moves forward, these students will be prepared and more employable in the healthcare industry.
Tuition in the program is also subsidized. “”If you succeed and pass everything, it’s basically free,” said Sandy Smith, Director of Health Information Technology at the college.
The idea of using EMR in a classroom setting is not a new concept, and actually pre-dates the current government effort to digitize medical records. Several years ago, a program at the University of Minnesota used a simulated EMR to assist the teaching of medical students. The students used the EMR system in a virtual visit: “by going to the clinic web page, signing in and viewing a simulation of a typical clinic electronic patient record system. This system details the patient’s demographic information, past medical history, family history, social history, and progress notes.”
A recent survey from the CDC says that roughly half of physicians are using digital records. About 51 percent of the 7,000 doctors surveyed this year reported at least partial use of electronic medical records (EMR).
Some doctors are using a limited system for basic needs like viewing lab results and prescription writing, while others (about ten percent) are using a completely functional EMR system. The data, particularly when you examine the trends over the past 9 years, reflect a major increase in the use of EMR (see graph).
According to the CDC report:
“Between 2009 and 2010, the percentage of physicians reporting having systems that met the criteria of a basic or a fully functional [EMR] system increased by 14.2% and 46.4%, respectively.”
The survey found a “significantly higher” percentage of doctors in certain states reporting use of EMR. Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin, Utah and North Dakota topped the list. Florida, Louisiana and Kentucky showed significantly lower numbers of physicians reporting EMR use.
The “meaningful use” final rule offers some flexibility, and physicians now can defer up to five EMR objectives in the first two years and still qualify for Medicare or Medicaid financial incentives. The final CMS rule divides the initial 25 meaningful use objectives into two categories: a core group of 15 objectives that physicians and hospitals must meet, and a “menu set” of 10 procedures from which they can choose any five to defer in 2011-12, the first round of the incentive program. CMS also softened some requirements to make them easier to achieve. Read more about “meaningful use” in this informative article from the American Medical News.
You may also be interested in reading more about the “Meaningful Use” Regulation for Electronic Health Records from the New England Journal of Medicine.