Sherry Rich, the practice manager at Middle Tennessee Center for Lung Disease, knew that implementation of an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system was a natural step in their quest to keep pace with their increased patient volume and remain on the forefront of practice innovation. The EMR’s potential to enhance productivity was extremely appealing, yet as is the case for many small practices, once implemented the promised benefits were not being realized.
“We knew there would be a learning curve and it would take time before we would reap the benefits of the system, but we expected to see results long before we did,” says Rich.
Rich noticed a significant slowdown in staff and physician productivity as they tried to adapt their existing clinical behaviors to the new system. The solution did not integrate well with their established processes and workflows. The staff attempted to blend their existing workflow with the functions of the new system, but in many cases found themselves taking on redundant steps. A primary complaint from the physicians was that the new system did not allow easy integration of dictated physician notes. The EMR’s template-driven design slowed the entire process because it encouraged the physicians to enter their notes via keyboard and mouse versus dictation, their preferred method.
Six months after implementing the EMR, Middle Tennessee Lung engaged Entrada to bridge the gap between the clinic’s existing work practices and the functions of the EMR. They selected Entrada because the company’s technology would allow their physicians to continue to dictate notes for portions of the medical record and accelerate their transition to electronic documentation. As a result, physician productivity significantly increased without changing the practice’s current workflow.
“We are a small office and so the investment in an EMR is a greater percentage of our income than at larger practices,” says Rich. “We needed to see the return on our investment much quicker. Entrada made this happen for us.”
Almost immediately, the group realized a significant improvement in report turnaround time and a dramatic reduction in first draft errors, both resulting in immediate savings. By selecting the optional editing service, Rich was also able to further increase the accuracy of files sent to physicians. With an average turnaround time of less than 24 hours, complete, fully edited notes are automatically distributed into the patient’s electronic record. “The two systems are so integrated. There is little need for personnel intervention,” says Rich.
Entrada founder Alex Poston notes, “Entrada recognizes that no technology solution will produce the promised benefits if it does not respect how work currently flows through the business. Well-managed practices are complex operations with established processes and significant interdependencies. Without a bridge between the current procedures and the functions of the new technology, the freshly installed EMR is unlikely to meet expectations, especially in smaller practices that do not have the technical resources to customize the technology to meet their specific needs.”
75 Percent Cut in Staff Time
Virtually every function of this integrated solution has saved the practice time and reduced unnecessary effort, dramatically improving overall administrative productivity. Rich estimates that together with the EMR, Entrada has helped Middle Tennessee Lung cut administrative tasks related to clinical documentation by 75 percent.
“From reduced processing errors, to saving over eight days of labor per month, Entrada has improved and enhanced nearly every aspect of our practice’s clinical documentation,” says Rich. “Thanks to Entrada, we now have a well-tuned EMR operation.”