I am not against EMRs (electronic medical records). The key is that it has to work for me and not the other way around. To be fair to these EMR companies, that will never work if all the doctor is trying to do is massage the note so they optimize his payment. In other words, as long as the doctor is working for the government or insurance company, a perfect EMR will not exist.
What if the doctor didn’t work for the gov’t or insurance companies? What if the physician put up his/her own shingle and charged patients a reasonable monthly fee to see them? What would he/she use? Personally, I considered going back to paper charts. There are a few problems, however. One is office space. The second is the on-call issue. Being able to access charts 24/7 is a nice value to patients when they need a prescription, etc and it is nighttime or you are out of town.
I have been doing direct primary care for about 6 months now. I am about half way filled and I started my practice from scratch. In other words, I did not have a full panel to pull from when I made the decision that I was all in for DPC. That put me at a financial disadvantage but it also meant I was not locked into any computer system. I had seen some options for EMRs for DPC at conferences but the guy that really convinced me that this type of practice was for me was also the guy who has his own system. Josh Umbehr at Atlas.MD is one of the pioneers in direct primary care. Not only has he figured how to make his practice successful but he has also developed a reasonable costing cloud EMR for others to rent. (Full disclosure: Josh has his ad on this site and I use EMR his product in exchange for that space).
So do I like the Atlas.MD product? Absolutely. Now there was some things to get used to, however. I had used Allscripts, Centricity, and others so I was proficient in EMR use. The problem is that what I really was used to was writing a note so it codes correctly. Trying to forget all that was tough. I had to relearn how to make a chart that was about narrative and care. I needed to make my notes work for me to protect me in case of a lawsuit but more importantly, tell a story so that I can continue with good care the next time the patient came. The Atlas.MD product allows me to do that. That isn’t its strongest advantage, though. The Atlas.MD let’s me bill the patient monthly without having to think about it. When patients join, they have to build their chart on my website (so I don’t have to) and then enter their credit card. Each month, their fee is pulled and I get paid. No fuss, no muss. The Atlas.MD also allows me to use my smartphone for everything. I can access charts, fax prescriptions, send text message, send emails, and so much more. This EMR lets me do almost everything I used to do on the other products but in a much simpler way. Oh, and each communication via email or text is automatically routed through the EMR and saved in the patient’s chart. In other words, I don’t have to type it in later.
I wanted to do this review for a while now. If anyone is interested in more information, just email me or go to the Atlas.MD website. I do not get a commission or referral fee. Could this product be better? Sure. Everything could be better and I think they really do a good job taking feedback to update their system. There is a happy medium between wanting perfection in an EMR versus realizing you don’t need all those bells and whistles any more because you are not shackled to the gov’t or insurance system. When you get to that point, like I finally did, you realize that this product may be the best medical record system for your direct primary care practice.