Peter Capizzi, M.D., chose patientNOW because it adapts easily to the changing needs of his busy Charlotte, North Carolina-based plastic surgery practice. Equally important, however, was patientNOW’s commitment to optimizing its electronic health record (EHR) software to ensure that his practice runs smoothly long after the sale.
When he chose patientNOW in 2006, he’d previously used 3 other EHR systems – none of which could cut it. One was inexpensive, he says, “But the support was terrible.”
At the other end of the spectrum, the manufacturer of a costly leading EHR solution (which he’d used in a prior practice) supplied the names of 25 users as references. But Dr. Capizzi says that when he contacted some of them, “Not one gave the product a glowing review.” When he began investigating patientNOW, the company had no representatives in North Carolina, so he called patientNOW CEO Jerry Jacobson directly. “He was very straightforward and logical. He’s very interested in improving the product, and supporting my practice.”
patientNOW’s price was also attractive, he says. Six years after implementing patientNOW, says Dr. Capizzi, “I’m still a satisfied user, mostly because, like me, Jerry’s trying to make the product better on a daily basis. He recently visited my office to see how we use patientNOW in our preoperative, operating room (OR), and recovery areas.”
Dr. Capizzi also likes the fact that patientNOW is “totally customizable – a dynamic system that can change as my practice changes.” For instance, he says that for a recent liposuction case, “I made 3 different operative notes, then put them in a package form where my staff or I can just click, open them up and plug them into patient charts” in seconds.
Before implementing patientNOW, “I had to go to the phone, call a transcription service, dictate an operative note, then wait 24 to 48 hours. They would then fax me the note” for proofreading, printing, and – finally – scanning into the patient’s chart.
Now, staff members can access the “packaged” operative notes – and any other necessary info – via iPad or tablet while in the OR. “The efficiency is incredible. With patientNOW and the iPad, I’ve got the power of my whole staff – medical records, finance, business, photography, patient coordinating, and quoting – in my hand. I can call all this information up” from either of his 2 offices or his home any time. And thanks to patientNOW, “When I leave the office for the day, I’m done. I don’t have stacks of charts to file.”
patientNOW’s ability to store photos in patient charts also represents a “huge improvement. Previously, we had one program that handled consents, one for photography, and one for insurance.” Now, having all this information centrally stored and sensibly interrelated helps greatly in dealing with health insurance, as he occasionally does. Additionally, “I don’t have to access, maintain, or worry about the instability of another software program” when working with clinical images.
To send appointment reminders and inform patients about specials, Dr. Capizzi uses patientNOW’s e-mail capability. The software also tracks the practice’s product sales. Overall, he says, patientNOW has proven especially beneficial to his injectable business. For example, the software allows Dr. Capizzi to record key details of a Botox treatment, in part through a facial diagram in every patientNOW chart. If the patient returns 3 months later for the same treatment, “I know exactly how many units were given, and where. So not only can I be efficient, but I also can deliver the service reproducibly. That increases retention.”
In this regard, he says, repeat patients want to know that their treatment, results, and fee will be the same as last time. BecausepatientNOW meets these needs, says Dr. Capizzi, his retention rate for Botox patients has climbed from 50% to 70% or 80%.
Via its cloud computing architecture, he adds, patientNOW eliminates the need for tape backup of files. patientNOW also has proveneasy to learn and use, he says.
For all the above reasons, Dr. Capizzi says that although it initially might have appeared risky to choose a relatively new EHR product, “It was a risk worth taking.”
Peter J. Capizzi, M.D. is an active member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery with offices in Charlotte, NC