EMR Doctor’s Blog: Ways to Save Money in a Modern Electronic Medical Practice: Part Two

Here’s another tip I learned over the first year in my solo practice that has really added efficiency and productivity to my office.

Tip #2. Use an electronic health / medical record system (for free, if you can).

I’ll admit I’m biased here. I hate buying something that I can get legally for free.  And as far as EMR systems go, there’s more than one option on the market at the present time.  In my office, we use the guilty pleasure of Practice Fusion and have been pretty freaking happy for a year now. Mitochon Systems is another company that offers such an EMR system, although I confess I haven’t tried it.  Practice Fusion now claims about 60,000 users, although these are not all physicians. For a recent review of their stats, an interview with the CEO can be found at HisTalkPractice.com.  These companies often use alternative sources of income in order to avoid passing on their business costs to the providers and staff using their systems. In the case of Practice Fusion, we see small ads for medications at the bottom of the screen or off to the side.   For me, this is tolerable, and I don’t feel any pressure to prescribe these drugs. They are not popup boxes that would require you to close before being able to work on patient charts, and so this allows them to be minimally invasive into your daily activities.

In bipartisan fairness, there are a variety of systems that you can pay for if desired, and indeed there is a pay-for option to use Practice Fusion without the ads for around $100 per month.  If you have ethical qualms about using a reportedly “free” system due to supposed “hidden costs”, financial and “otherwise”, that someone else will need to pay for, then you may wish to pay yourself. Just please please please don’t make the mistake of thinking that free systems are somehow less capable or functional, simply because they are free to users, and “after all, how good could it be if it’s not expensive?”.  As the old saying goes, “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.”  Now, as for my soapbox on drug companies and their tactics to ruin physicians’ ability to choose drugs they would really like to prescribe, we’ll have to save that one for another post…

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009.

Full Disclosure: Practice Fusion and Mitochon Systems are both advertisers on EMR and EHR, but I’m not sure Dr. West even knew this when he wrote the post. Plus, Dr. West didn’t get paid to write this post either. He just loves EMR and is glad to share his good and bad experiences with it.

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  • Agree with you Doc; cost of systems have decreased and its almost free; there are a couple of systems including Enable Healthcare’s MDnet-EHR, providing an all encompassing solution which includes a seamlessly integrated billing solution. All these without the advertisements, with all the required templates and future requirements if any are addressed with our MDnet-EHR; and by the way, Endocrinology is one of the specialties which has a rich library of templates.
    There are many reasons to embrace EHR and low cost is certainly one of them.

  • Full agreement here. Not only are EMRs now low cost or free, but they will qualify you for Meaningful Use so you can get your $44,000 stimulus, while improving the value of your office by digitalizing your records. Mitochon Systems, a provider of free certified EMR systems and connectivity solutions for physicians, recently earned modular ONC-ATCB 2011/2012 meaningful use Certification for its Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. Mitochon and its EMR are part of an elite group of companies that are currently certified for meaningful use and that offer an ePrescribe option…and we are free. Not only does Mitochon Systems offer the free EMR, but an HIE and PHR as well. For more information on digitalizing your office and having the ability to electronically collaborate with your colleagues, you can find more information at http://mitochonsystems.com.

  • “Pretty freaking happy” sums it up! Dr. West is in good company according to a rating report just released today. Practice Fusion was voted the #1 EHR in customer satisfaction. A big accomplishment and a reflection of the strength of our community.

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