Monday, November 13, 2006

Going Solo? Make your own EMR.

I have an inexpensive and effective EMR that is not commercially available. Read on!

Electronic Medical records (EMR) currently are, as Paris Hilton would say, hot. Just the other day, the New York Times ran a story on EMR and my national urology meeting had an EMR competition and symposium. In several years, all of us physicians may be required by law to have them. But who is going to pay for it? Before you buy a system, read on. Commercialy available EMRs are not quite ready for prime time. And for peanuts, you can take existing, mass produced, off the shelf software and customize it, by your self or with a little help, to produce your own EMR that will function effectively, efficiently, and inexpensively and grow with your practice. I am a urologist in start-up and I did it.

Windows XP has a feature that is known to everyone throughout the world who has ever turned on a computer. That feature is the folder. The folder! The Windows XP folder is just that, a folder. A chart! The icon even looks just like the charts from my old urology practice. You can open and close and add sections to it, just like a chart. Only you can always locate them and several people can access them at the same time. Inside each folder, you can store any type of data you want. Documents, pictures, graphs, hand written letters and diagrams, numbers etc. Simple to use and inexpensive software exists that can convert any type of data into digital format that can be read and stored on a Windows XP system. Any thing that you would keep in an actual physical chart can be stored in these FREE virtual charts and they can be organized in a manner that is familier to any physician. My charts have sections for patient demographics, progress notes, correspondance, old records, labs, radiology,ect. As my needs change, I simply adjust the template chart, in 2 seconds. Its easy. Even my staff can do it, and they came with no pre-existing computer experience.

After 6 years of research, I have concluded that existing EMR programs have several things in common. They are extremely expensive to purchase and to maintain and are incredibly complex programs that crash in unpredictable ways. In addition, these programs are written for the generic physician and they require the purchasing physicians and their staffs to customize it for their own specialty and practice directed unique needs. You have to do the customizing. And labs must be scanned in to boot!

My system is at least as inefficient as any out there and certainly better than any paper chart method. And it cost me less than $2000, all software, hardware, and tech support included.

Any questions, feel free to email me. or