The transition from a paper office to a paperless one can seem like a daunting task. In my experience at Mount Kisco, I learned that you need to find an electronic medical records solution that is equal in product quality to vendor support. This is a major key to implementation success and is how we were able to increase the time focused on patient care while decreasing time wasted and money spent.
Mount Kisco Medical Group PC (MKMG) is the oldest multi-specialty medical group in New York State. Serving approximately one quarter of a million patients, and performing over 400,000 patient contacts per year, not including laboratory and imaging, MKMG consists of 130 healthcare professionals.
We already had a practice management system in place; however, we had a first-generation EMR system that simply could not handle the interfaces, scanning or volume of lab data. We intended to transition to a paperless office and our legacy system just could not deliver. The management team was dedicated to finding an efficient, reliable system that would enhance patient care and improve office workflow through the support of electronic data.
The logical choice
Determined to select the right product for our growing practice, the management team sent out a request for proposal (RFP) to various vendors and spent a year and a half researching through demos and site visits. As a result of this extensive process, we were able to narrow the potential candidates down to two. Due to our practice's size, needs and overall product capabilities, we chose Misys Vision — an enterprise practice management system that includes a suite of patient management, administrative and reporting applications, and Misys EMR — a specialty-focused electronic medical records system that can either work with its own practice management and billing solutions or can be integrated with an existing system.
Having universal availability of the medical record provides physicians with more time to focus on patient needs...
We switched to an EMR because of our desire for a paperless office. Having universal availability of the medical record provides physicians with more time to focus on patient needs and their immediate care instead of looking for their charts. Our physicians can feel confident that their prescribed treatment is the best possible treatment for the patient because they have access to their complete medical history. Simply stated, our physicians have more time to do what needs to be done and are equipped with the tools to be most effective at doing so.
Patient confidence is essential. Having a group practice like ours, where physicians are constantly traveling to various offices, can make this difficult. Yet, since we have converted to a modern EMR, we have achieved a continuum of care. If a patient that was seen several days earlier in a different office calls with a follow-up question, the doctor has access to their information.
One full time employee has replaced the four individuals that we previously needed to keep up with charge entry in the lab.
We have also seen improvement in our financial situation with our enterprise practice management system, as we are now able to bill more efficiently. We can now challenge every insurance denial. Moreover, all lab work is billed automatically and electronically, which is cost-effective for the small charges sometimes involved.
Reaping the Rewards
We now have more space to continue to grow our practice. Our record room only takes up half of the former area, and our group has more than doubled in size. We also see a difference in manpower. One full time employee has replaced the four individuals that we previously needed to keep up with charge entry in the lab. We are now seeing three times the amount of patients and we only need one person to enter that information.
Since both our financial data and medical records are stored on the same server in the same database, there is an absence of interface problems with our practice management system. We also have a complete legal record. Matching this benefit, are the resources that our vendor has made available. We have now become a leader in information technology and a model for other practices.
Abe Levy, M.D., is the medical director and chief quality officer at Mount Kisco Medical Group PC, Mount Kisco, N.Y.