In a recent post on Cure MD, the common EHR blog-lytizing was in full effect. As usual, the site claims, “An Electronic Health Record (EHR) system helps a practice in more than one ways [sic].” Then we see the common empty signifiers — improved workflows, improved cash flow, improved patient flow, and, our favorite red tape phenomenon, Meaningful Use! All of this to quote, “Sav[e] time and meet[…] regulatory requirements.” They then list out some more benefits that EHRs offer the fee-for-service doctor. But notice, they never mention what kind of doctor. Just, doctor.
That’s one of many points of comparison we’ll draw with the competitors versus our direct care EMR, Atlas.md. Right off the bat, our product is made for a specific doctor, a direct primary care physician operating a cash-only facility.
Let’s take a look at Cure MD’s list of additional EHR benefits and see how Atlas.md actually offers them.
Increased patient volume:
Claim: “Physicians are able to save a lot of time by using an EHR system and can therefore see more patients in a shorter amount of time.”
Fact: Most EMRs are so cluttered that doctors spend additional time clicking through meaningless boxes because they have to, not because they achieve anything. Atlas.md EMR streamlines the interface using the technology of today. That means a cross-platform, responsive design you’ll find on the apps you use everyday. It’s definitely not the typically prehistoric software and databases still found in the fee-for-service healthcare world. And it’s definitely not the noisy complexities also found on the marketplace — software trying to be useful to so many doctors that it ends up negating its original intent.
Achieving Meaningful Use:
Claim: “Practices which are using certified EHR systems can attest for Meaningful Use and if they meet the criteria, can qualify to receive incentive payments from the government.”
Fact: This is a red herring. A program that earns money from the government is one thing. A program that saves doctors time and helps them practice better medicine is another. Often, these two ideas are confused for the same thing, but that’s a flaw in reasoning that helps lackluster products become commonplace on the market. Atlas.md is an EMR and Practice Management software that helps doctors run a practice more effectively and get paid for their work in a timely manner. If it doesn’t do these things, it won’t persist on the marketplace. There’s no Meaningful Use to justify its use.
Improved care quality:
Claim: “Practices are able to deliver better care quality with the help of EHR software, embedded knowledge-base and workflow editors.”
Fact: Clayton Chrisensen institute explains why EHR is destined to fail. With Meaningful Use, you wind up with an industry that has a horse and carrot phenomenon, not disruption. What that means is that each year a new product is released that’s a little bit better than the one before. But without disruption, the industry remains status quo. And the EHR status quo is not very good.
With Atlas.md EMR, though, we believe we can help improve the quality of care. Not with flashy bells and whistles and copious features. Instead, we are trying to create a lean product that is affordable and will help doctors open and manage their own direct care facility (along with an in-house pharmacy, which has additional benefits). Because we’re acting as entrepreneur and not looking for government subsidy, the only way the product survives is by ACTUALLY helping doctors. If not, why would they buy it? And if by buying it, they can see patients for more time, prevent longterm diseases, and save money, we think those are real measurable things, not just empty words.
Claim: “The usage of paper is reduced to almost zero. Physicians can electronically enter all patient vitals, lab results, radiology images, consultation letters and even voice files into the system.”
Fact: This survey says the contrary. As for Atlas.md EMR, we actually aren’t trying to sell a product on a bogus claim that we’ll save you paperwork. Instead we are streamlining our sign-up process so that patients can use an iPad or sign up online, and do it efficiently. However, paper is helpful in certain cases. We’ve embedded fax features for prescribing meds and implemented various print features to turn electronic records into helpful, printable PDFs.
Claim: “Physicians can enter data in a very simplified manner, thereby reducing tasking and transactions. They are also able to eliminate redundant data entry with duplication checks and merging features.”
Fact: This Kevin MD article suggests entirely otherwise.
Claim: “Physicians are able to accelerate collections with online eligibility checks, intelligent billing, claim checks and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).”
Fact: We’re still looking for any data corroborating the claim that EMRs help doctors get paid more efficiently. The software might not even be the real culprit, though. It could be bureaucracy itself, which is why we cut the red tape and adopted the direct care model. With Atlas.md, we can collect patient payments as easily as you would for an eBay or Amazon order. We doubt many fee-for-service EHR can actually make that claim. Mostly since the billing rarely comes directly from the doctor, but instead through third-party billers in coordination with insurance companies.
Electronic lab orders:
Claim: “Lab orders can be electronically transmitted and results received through the usage of an EHR system. Decision making is simplified with automated filling, flagging, tracking and trending.”
Fact: This is a broad claim and there are plenty of stories of this not being the case. Some doctors in the fee-for-service model wind up doubling their work and their stress because they need to use the EHR to collect Meaningful Use. But because the software is unreliable, they hand out paper prescriptions and lab requests, too.
Do you have any good EHR stories?
Leave us a comment or send us an email. We want to hear about your experience. And if you haven’t yet, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Atlas.md EMR here.