A Dr., his patients and his technology

Joanna SorockiBy Joanna Sorocki
Doctor’s offices are famous for dusty old files. The secretary pulls each chart from thousands of others. Every patient has tons of scribbled information on his or her charts, and it’s hard for lay people to imagine how doctors keep it all straight.
Well, apparently doctors need a little help as well.
Dr. Steven Fischer has begun an interesting transition to using electronics to make his practice more efficient.
Since he opened in 1987, he has used technology to automate most office administrative duties. Fischer primarily uses three software programs: Medisoft for patient and accounting management issues; Quickbooks for business accounting; and SpringCharts, an electronic medical records program that Fischer helped develop and now sells through NDCHealth. With these programs, he can create patient records, do internal messaging, arrange prescription refills and keep up with all the documentation required in a medical practice.
Dr. Fischer realizes that this transition actually translates into
increased productivity, including a five to 10 percent increase in patient load. He was also able to improve patient care by allowing for less paper time and more face-to-face time.
For example, he’ll use an HP Photosmart digital camera to take a photo of a patient’s moles before they’re removed, then import the photo into his Tablet PC. He can identify the moles removed by circling them in the photo. He can then save the annotated picture in the patient’s
file for future reference.
Fischer said that since converting his paper files to electronic files he saves time and money. “I save money on papers, folders, and I do not have to hire as many secretaries. He also gains advantage of easy access to patient files anywhere.
“Electronic files are more secure,” he said. “Paper file get lost or misplaced.”
Fischer said that electronic files are actually more secure than paper files. “With paper files I just lock a door, but with electronic files I can easily restrict access,” he said.
He explains that many doctors are converting to electronic files and advises that doctors transition using both (paper and electronic) files for about a year to allow all the information to be transferred. “Any doctors starting a new practice need to start with electronic records,” he said.
Dr. Fischer said, “Tablet PCs are absolutely necessary, doctors are in a mobile profession and move from room to room, so a desktop doesn’t work. A tablet PC is revolutionary for medicine.”