Dr. Nancy Neighbors’ family practice provides comprehensive, coordinated and continuing care to all members of the family and serves as the patient’s advocate in the changing health care system. As a solo practice, the full time staff includes a nurse, an office manager that performs the in-house billing, and a receptionist.
Challenges That Needed Solutions
Upon opening her practice in Huntsville, Dr. Neighbors initially decided to utilize a billing and scheduling system that was already being used by a few physicians with which she shared office space. After being on that system for some time, she discovered that it had a number of limitations with regard to user friendliness, reporting, and overall flexibility. In addition, the software vendor’s support service was not as responsive as they felt it should have been. On a separate note, the urge to move to an electronic charting system was becoming more appealing when compared with labor and material cost of managing paper charts.
Dr. Neighbors' comments: "While a major motivation was the frustration with stacks of paper charts, lost sticky notes, etc., the problems ran deeper. They inevitably were caused by a bottleneck based on the limitations of the current system and how efficiently paper documents could be handled. Prior to converting to EMR, there were approximately 3,000 paper charts. On any given day, there could be several hundred charts waiting to be filed and in various states of completion."
Searching for a New Practice Management & EMR Solution
It was important to Dr. Neighbors and her staff to select a system where all modules were managed by a single vendor since having an integrated system reduced paperwork and keying of data, thereby cutting costs. It was also vital that training be thorough and software support be timely, knowledgeable, and friendly.
"We looked at a number of nationwide vendors, but did not find the level of local support we wanted. Granted there were many vendors to choose from, and each offered a wide range of appealing features, but at the end of the day, FlexMedical offered support we felt we could trust and provided a solid product."
"FlexMedical worked well from day one. Their trainers guided us from pre-installation training and template design through the go-live experience and responded quickly to incidental questions. Although we reduced the number of appointments slightly during the first week, we were back to our regular schedule by the start of the second week. During our first year of operation with FlexMedical, we have experienced a system reliability that exceeded our expectations."
"There were labor and productivity gains within the first six months. In our situation, FlexMedical more than paid for itself through reduced labor and decreased use of paper charting supplies. The time saved using templates for common needs and in handling rechecks has been significant. Advantages have included productivity gains, an improved bottom line, getting home earlier, and the satisfaction of better documentation."