EMR in Action – Including Skype, Dragon Naturally Speaking, Lab Results Graphing, EMR Faxing

A recent comment on my list of EMR vendors post told such a good story that I had to get permission to post it as its very own post. I think this is only the beginning of what an EMR will be able to do.

Enjoy the story.

ComChart EMR: An experience from the exam room

I was in the exam room talking to a patient, who I am treating for hyperthyroidism. The patient complained of profound fatigue, of several months duration. It was unclear if the problem was being addressed by the PCP. While talking to the patient, I reviewed all his labs which were in ComChart EMR. There was nothing obviously wrong.

From within the exam room, and while still talking to the patient, I connected to my hospital’s computer and download all his labs which were less than 1 year old. I then had ComChart file the labs into his ComChart chart. I then had ComChart EMR create a chart of all his CBCs by clicking the “Chart… CBC” button in the labs. It was obvious that his hematocrit had dropped precipitously sometime between January and March.

The PC computer I was using had Skype installed (a free program which allows you to make free telephone calls from your computer.) I also have a headset attached to this computer, which I use with Dragon NaturalSpeech Medical. While still in the exam room, and from within ComChart EMR, I clicked the “PCP” button in the patient’s Progress Note and a dialog box popped up and asked “Do you want to go to the Dr. XXX’s Addresses file?” I selected “yes.” I then clicked on the label “private,” which is in front of the physician’s “private” phone number. ComChart opened Skype and connected the call. I spoke with the PCP and I arranged for the patient to see the PCP the following day.

I then click the “orders” button and selected my “anemia work-up” panel. This created a lab order slip which included all the necessary blood tests. I choose the option “Send copy of results to… PCP” and then clicked the button “Fax order slip” to lab.

Finally, in front of the patient, I dictated a Progress Note, using Dragon NaturalSpeech 8 Medical. The resultant Progress Note included the chart of the patient’s CBCs. I then selected the PCP as the recipient, and clicked the button “Create queued fax.” In my office, I have one computer which continually sends out the “queued faxes” as soon as they are created. Thus, the PCP had received a copy of the Progress Note and the lab had received the lab order slip even before the patient left my exam room. The entire process occurred within a few minutes.

Needless to say, that patient was impressed that my office was able to use technology in order to efficiently advance their healthcare. And, the fact that it all happened in front of the patient, seem to reassure the patient and de-mistify the healthcare delivery process.

True story. It occurred on 7/7/06. Score one for ComChart EMR.

Hayward Zwerling, M.D., FACP, FACE
ComChart Medical Software
275 Varnum Avenue, Suite 102
Lowell, MA USA 01854

I espescially liked this story because it tied in so many different technologies into an office visit. Skype in the exam room is great. Voice recognition in front of the patient is gutsy. Faxing notes is such a paper and time saver. Charting lab results is the essence of lab interfaces and granular data in your EMR.

Can your EMR do all that?

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.