Posted by: AtlasMD

January 18, 2016

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The Virtual Quality Myth. How DPC Changes the Game.

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Quality seems good, right? Quality seems the like thing that we’re all after, right? Well, sort of! When it comes to EMRs, we’re on the right track. While the rest of the EMRs are tripping over themselves to comply with government regulations over quality, we’re able to pursue actual quality medicine above all.

It turns out that what has been a speculation for years (that government regulations distort quality by making overtesting and distortion of informed consent and overmedication – to name a few – a regular part of a doctor’s work day), has been proven to be a pervasive and perverse issue in the medical world, according to PLOS Medicine.

Virtual Quality Doesn’t Promote Health

This phenomenon is so common that it has a name — “virtual quality,” and it relates to the fact that applying rigid standards, regulations and “guidelines” might make sense statistically but they don’t actually apply to patients, and these rigid guidelines can actually produce harmful effects on patients. It seems counterproductive because it is. The whole point of guidelines should be to ensure a positive standard of practice, but the reality is that guidelines and PQRS’s actually reduce patient quality. According to Peter C. Cook, M.D.,

The notion that PQRS promotes quality care rests on the flawed assumption that a bloated federal bureaucracy, CMS, can be nimble enough to produce quality measures that keep up with the rapidly evolving state of scientific evidence. Reality contradicts that assumption. Published reviews in JAMA have determined that ‘most guidelines become outdated after 5 years.’ (Medical Economics)

Return to True Quality Care

And if that wasn’t enough to make you change your mind, consider the study published in PLOS Medicine, Quality Care that Matters, which states that the “current quality measures should be abandoned.” Obviously “quality measures should reflect meaningful health outcomes. Surrogate measures do not satisfy this principle. Clinical trial results are often not attained in the real world, and there should be evidence that quality measures do, in fact, substantially improve health outcomes across various locales and practice settings.”

DPCs Make a Real Difference

While this is bad news for standard medicine, it’s good news to all of the doctors and patients who subscribe to DPC. We believe in actual quality, not virtual quality, and that’s more meaningful to us than “Meaningful Use” could ever be!

When you’re ready to take the next step in starting your DPC practice, take a look at our curriculum to see how you can get started.

Posted by: AtlasMD

December 15, 2015

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Is Your Clinic Holiday-Ready?

The holidays are right around the corner. You know that, right? We’re talking days away. Days.

Even if you completely forgot to send out Christmas cards (no judgement here!), don’t panic — there’s still time to get your DPC practice holiday-ready. Here are three simple ways you can communicate your holiday plan to your patients — keeping them in the loop, and you transparent. When everyone knows what’s going on, everyone wins.

List your holiday hours on your website.
It’s the first place your patients will go to investigate your schedule. So hop on over to your contact page and take a minute or two to update the content. Mentioning something on your blog (if you have one) wouldn’t hurt, either.

Send out an email!
It’s such a simple thing, but your patients will appreciate it more than you know. Doesn’t have to be long, or too terribly eloquent. Just be nice, wish them well this holiday season and be sure to let them know how to reach you if that method has changed from the usual. (If you use the Atlas.md EMR, freshen up on how to send an email from inside the EMR here, or using a third party here.)

Update your voicemail message.
They will call, but you won’t always be able to answer. When that happens, make sure your holiday hours are plainly stated in your voicemail message. Because if for some reason you’ll be unavailable for an extended period of time, your patients won’t waste their time calling, texting, emailing, and calling again.

So, there you go. Won’t take more than a few minutes of your time, and the result is that your patients know you have your stuff together. Oh, and there might still be time for Christmas cards! Shutterfly will even mail them for you…

What’s New in the Atlas.md EMR?

What’s New in the Atlas.md EMR?

In October’s Features Release we’re responding to some of your hottest requests, like additional growth charts and multiple patient subscription options. But we’re also introducing some features that will make communication between you and your patients easier than ever before. And who can forget about the ICD-10 rollout? Well, maybe you, since you don’t have to deal with it…

Multiple Patient Subscription Options – Including Yearly and More!
Now the Atlas.md EMR allows you to manage new kinds of subscriptions for your patients: yearly, quarterly (every 3 months) and semestral (every 6 months). Giving your patients what they want is getting easier and easier. Get the details here.

Updated Labs Pricing
You’ve been talking to us about Quest labs prices, and we listened! We’ve updated the way your practice handles custom quotes provided by Quest to make your life easier in the long run. Read more here. Read more

Hard for You. Easy for Your Patients. Perfect.

This article over on HelpScout’s blog is all about how to write well. How easy reading is damn hard to write. Well, you’re not writers, you’re healthcare professionals… but the concept still applies.

It applies in the most basic of ways — how you communicate with your patients. You have to translate medical terminology into something your patients can understand (they didn’t go to medical school at all, remember?). You have to break it down into simple, everyday words. What you say must be easy to digest. That means getting rid of all the excess stuff. Stuff like phrases that only repeat your point rather than further illustrating your point — there’s a difference.

Like the article says, “Great writing moves you effortlessly through the words; reading becomes as quick as thought.” Which is why it’s more than what you say or don’t say. It’s how you say it.

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This whole “easy reading is damn hard” concept also applies on a deeper level of Direct Care. A level that stretches beyond writing, actually. This level is why your patients love you so much. It’s why they feel the need to tell people in the supermarket line about you. It’s because you make healthcare easy for them. You make them feel good about the decision they made to be part of the Direct Care movement. You make them feel empowered by their choice to ditch red tape and middle men. You make them healthier and more confident as they leave the tangled web that is health insurance behind.

So as you continue to provide excellent care for your patients, you’ll also continue to find your own style. Your own writing style, your own bedside manner style, your own practice style.

“Novelist Neil Gaiman once said that writers find their own voices only after they’ve sounded like a lot of other people. On the road to writing your own seminal sentences, start by studying those that have stood the test of time.”

We want to help make all this easier on you. We’ve done the legwork, the really hard stuff. We, and many others, have built Direct Care practices which have stood the test of time. So while you’re busy finding your own voice, it’s okay to use ours for a while. Get it in the DPC Curriculum. Get it through our free consulting services. We’re standing by at hello@atlas.md, excited to hear how you’re working hard to make life easier for your patients!

The Atlas.md EMR is Slashing Transfer Wait Times!

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You’re all very patient people. Just one of many things we love about the Direct Care community. But when it comes to your hard earned money being transferred to your bank account, we understand that maybe you just don’t want to be patient. Well, now you don’t have to be.

No more waiting seven days to make absolutely sure your money is available for transfer. The wait window is dropping to two days! We really wish we could see your happy dance right now. We’re thrilled to be able to offer you (nearly) instant gratification.

And of course, we’re still doing everything we can to keep your bank fees low, so we have your back just like always. (Like when we reduced credit card transfer fees, for example.)

Now, go start counting down the hours till your next transfer hits your account!

What’s New in the Atlas.md EMR?

What’s New in the Atlas.md EMR?

Point-of-Sale Billing Integration

The Atlas.md EMR is adapting to how its customers operate their clinics – one of the many great liberties the Direct Care business model allows us to take! This release, we focused on integrating Point-of-Sale Billing with Subscription-Based Billing, which means clinics can now more easily charge patients at the time of service if they choose. Get the details over here!

Growth Chart Improvements!

Since adding growth charts to the EMR, we’ve improved their functionality by allowing you to add past history information, and print and/or email them. Read more about how to get deeper and more precise analysis from growth charts here.

Improved Fax Layout
We’ve added information to the repeating header and footer on faxes. This means we’re increasing compliance with a few states who have specific (and rather strict!) prescription rules. The information has also been condensed to make it less likely for the prescription to span across multiple pages. Less confusion at the pharmacy is a good thing!

SMS Auto-Responder for Out of Office Time
A friend of the email “away message,” now you can easily set an auto-response SMS message when you’re going to be out of the office. Set the end date for when you’ll be back, and we’ll automatically turn your response off, too. Learn the details here!

Improvements on Current Medications

We now offer the option for users to keep prescribed medications permanently in your patient’s current medications list. Right where you expect them to be.

Subscription Charge Previews

When adding new users to your account, now you’ll know exactly how much you’ll be charged this month with the proration estimate, as well as what your future monthly charges will be with the addition of the new user. Transparency is key, right? Learn more about the charge preview over here.

New Lab Billing Report

Now you can view all your lab charges in one easy view, including a list of all labs ordered in the selected date range specifying the patient involved and the price charged. Learn more here!

Performance Upgrades!
We spent time behind the scenes making the EMR faster, and better. But you should notice some of the changes on your end, too – like how the dashboard loads about nine times faster than it used to! We don’t like waiting; we know you don’t, either.

What’s New in the Atlas.md EMR’s Patient Access iOS App?

We’re always looking for ways to improve, and you’re probably getting used to seeing our frequent update articles about features we’ve added to the EMR. But this time we have new features to announce for the Atlas.md Patient Access iOS app! These updates make it easier for you to track data, and ensure safety remains top of mind.

Manage and track patient health data in one place.

HealthKit Integration: The HealthKit merges patients’ health and fitness data from multiple applications and houses them in one place. HealthKit integration allows you to work smarter by decreasing the time you spend tracking and managing your patients’ information. While it’s already possible to merge health data with HumanAPI and FitBit, the HealthKit is an extra feature that increases the app’s fitness-tracking capabilities so you can easily monitor your patients’ health and so patients can reach their fitness goals.

  • HealthKit makes it even easier to track and manage patient health data because it integrates directly to the patient’s phone — patients’ caloric intake, sleep-tracking information, nutritional information, vital signs, and more can now be tracked and submitted with one easy application.

Safely connect with your patients.

Touch ID Security – we are excited to introduce a safer way for you and your patients to connect. Touch ID security decreases patient vulnerability by requesting a fingerprint authentication every time a patient gets back in the app. This security feature is much more difficult to crack than typical passwords, so you and your patients can collaborate safely and effectively. This security feature works on all products that support Touch ID (iPhone 5S and up).

  • Use fingerprints to login
  • Reduce risk

With these new features, you can manage and track patient information and ensure patient security — allowing you to focus on what matters: your patients’ health. We’re constantly improving the security and connectivity features on the iOS patient access app so you can have the freedom to connect with your patients in a real and a safe way.

Be Poised to Scale Gracefully.

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We want you to start your Direct Care practice the right way — without cutting corners or having to sacrifice quality because you think you can’t afford it. It’s why we do the things we do. You know, like offering all our consulting services absolutely free. Or traveling the country to help spread the word about DPC nationwide. Things like offering an EMR specifically built for Direct Care clinics that will do more than just meet intrinsic startup needs.

Let’s pause there for a second – that’s a really good point. When you’re starting off, you might only be thinking in terms of the near future. And that’s fine for the most part. But you’d do yourself well to expect expansion. And when you use the Atlas.md EMR, you’re making a smart short-term decision, but you’re also planning for long-term growth.

This EMR is unique because it fits a small clinic with just a few practitioners running the show. But as you grow (from two docs, to four docs with two nurses, to a second, third, tenth location, etc.) the Atlas.md EMR will scale accordingly. Let’s take a look at how that’s possible.

Calendars

Your calendar view can display just your appointments, the appointments for the entire practice, or any combination of the two. This flexibility gives you complete control over what happens within your practice walls.

Task Assignment

The ability to assign tasks to others makes it possible to communicate cross platform, cross patient, or even cross location. Task assignment coupled with notification reminders ensures you’re not letting anything slip through the cracks. Your team will actually operate as seamlessly as they appear.

Billing Reports

The billing reports you can pull for your practice break things down so simply for an accountant that it wouldn’t matter how many providers are contributing. The reports show the patient’s MRN or company name (for privacy), the amount of the payment made, processing status, the type of payment and the date. You can also filter to show a specific timeframe, and export to a CSV file anytime you need. We’ve thought ahead for you!

Read more

ACH Is Coming to the Atlas.md EMR!

To everyone who has asked (or silently wondered) if we can do direct withdraw through the EMR using a credit or debit card, we have great news! We’ve been accepted into our payment processor’s private beta for ACH, which means the real thing is right around the corner. We’re already working on integration logistics; before you know it you’ll have additional options to make your patients’ lives more convenient. We’ve only just begun development but we’ll let you know when a firm launch date evolves.

Here are some resources that talk a little more about what ACH entails:

The Atlas.md EMR is Lowering Credit Card Transaction Fees!

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After much internal consideration, research, and full-circle thinking, we’re in a really exciting position to show you just how much we care about the success of your Direct Care practice. The credit card transaction fee in the Atlas.md EMR has dropped from 3.1% to 2.5%.

We’re Putting Ourselves in Your Shoes

At the core of it all, we’re only giving you what we would want if we were in your position. And that’s to know the company behind the product is thinking about us all the time. We’ve lowered the fee to make all the features you’re privy to more affordable and cost effective. It’s worth the loss in profit to us to know you’re getting the most bang for your buck!

We’re a Business, But…

Our driving passion isn’t to make money. It’s to help you build and run a successful DPC practice that will give you the life you want, and your patients the care they deserve. The whole point of Direct Primary Care is to lower overhead and cut red tape. Actions speak louder than words, which is why we dropped that number. A transaction fee may seem like a small thing, but we know it’s huge to you.

Thank you for being loyal customers of the Atlas.md EMR. We hope we can remain by your side as you continue to breathe life into Direct Care.