“What I like about patientNOW is that it’s flexible, intuitive, and easy to understand,” says Jeffrey H. Spiegel, M.D., a Boston-based facial plastic surgeon in private practice. “For people who are not expert computer users, it’s quick to learn. And for people who are power users, all the advanced functions are there, too.”
patientNOW makes it easy for him to control what information staff members can and cannot access and modify. Because his practice is part of the Boston University facial plastic surgery training program, Dr. Spiegel says, “Residents come through on a regular basis, so in any given month, I may need to change who has access. It just takes a couple keystrokes. I don’t need to have the office manager or our IT folks do it.”
The practice also includes a Fellow working through the Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery, of which Dr. Spiegel is a fellowship director. With patientNOW, “We have everybody who needs to have access to the schedule and the system all working simultaneously – everyone’s updating their relative parts.”
Additionally, patientNOW allows Dr. Spiegel to communicate with his staff by inserting into his notes any information that requires follow-up. Thanks to automatic prompts, “They will know that it’s there waiting for them. I don’t need to send an e-mail saying, ‘Here’s something we need to do for Mrs. Smith.’”
The system also allows staff members to quote prices for prospective patients. “From a pull-down menu, our patient coordinators select what the patient is planning to have done and create a professional-looking custom quote, which is saved into the system for everyone’s reference.”
Regarding marketing, patientNOW enables Dr. Spiegel’s practice manager to generate custom lists of patients who have undergone filler injections, for example, for targeted e-mail campaigns. For retail sales, Dr. Spiegel plans to begin using patientNOW’s inventory management functions by the end of 2013.
Dr. Spiegel’s staff likes patientNOW’s ability to customize reports, generate action item lists, and store photographs in a very straightforward fashion. “It’s great to have all of the patient’s photographs as part of their chart. I have a very visual memory. When I see that someone’s coming in, I can just look at their chart and see their face. That jogs my memory immediately with regard to what we’re going to do for them, and what we’ve done for them in the past, so that I’m prepared for the visit.” If needed, hovering a cursor over a patient’s name gives him a brief summary of their visits. “If the patient is coming in for an injectable or filler, I can go to that page of their chart and see everything they’ve had in the past. This reminds me what they like, so I know how to budget my time.”
Dr. Spiegel also likes the fact that patientNOW is tailor-made for aesthetic practices. “For example, there’s a page under Clinical Information where you can add injectables. Instead of going back and looking through all your notes, just click on that page to see exactly what a person had done – what material, how many units, and when.”
Setting up a new office in 2011 allowed Dr. Spiegel to choose his own EHR. “We looked at our needs, and out of 2 or 3 products available, patientNOW had the right functionality, with cost and support levels that worked very well for our practice.”
From the start, he says, patientNOW proved fast and flawless. “I’m running a very busy practice. I didn’t have time for a rampup period with a new a new EHR. With patientNOW, I was able to go in the first day, with little to no experience with the system, and do what I needed to do.”
Now, says Dr. Spiegel, “The patientNOW schedule will tell me who’s coming in. Everything is color-coded so I’ll know the breakdown of appointments – which are surgeries, minimally invasive procedures such as fillers, or consults, follow-ups, and reconstructive issues.” Color coding also tells him which timeslots are videoconferences and academic meetings. That way, “I get a good layout of my day.”
As for periodic upgrades, “It upgrades by itself. I don’t have to do anything,” except leave the system on overnight to allow patientNOW staff members to make upgrades remotely.
Compared to the EHR system in use at the University medical center, “patientNOW is more streamlined. It incorporates all the tools we need into one program. It’s the way to run a modern office.”