FRAMINGHAM (02/13/2004) - University Physicians Group (UPG) in Long Island, N.Y., was recently awarded first place for the most innovative use of technology in a clinic/physician practice by the Healthcare Delivery Solutions Congress. UPG was recognized for its application of PhysicianSuite, a desktop-based electronic medical record (EMR) solution from iMedica Corp.
UPG began a six-month PhysicianSuite pilot program in June 2002. "We needed to get away from paper charts," said Dr. Jeff Hyman, UPG medical director. "Paper charts are often confusing, and it can be hard to quickly find the information needed."
Hyman cited his desire for chart clarity and better clinical and billing accuracy as the main drivers for going to an EMR system. "A lack of available information and efficient data flow was hurting our practice," Hyman said. "We needed an application with quick access to patient data, and a drug-to-drug interaction database that could be accessed electronically, without having to go through a pile of paper to find what we needed."
Before electing to go with iMedica, UPG also considered EMR systems from NextGen and GE Medical Systems.
At UPG, PhysicianSuite runs on Fujitsu Lifebook Series B Tablet PCs and a SQL client/server database. The application is also Web-accessible. Eleven UPG physicians are currently using the system, with eight using tablets and three using the Web version.
Doctors enter patient information into PhysicianSuite through a touchscreen navigation system, allowing them to quickly find relevant data, such as drug-to-drug interaction content and disease-related protocol. "This tool helps us make recommendations on the spot," Hyman said. "If I have a patient with acute bronchitis and enter that into PhysicianSuite, only relevant prescription information for acute bronchitis will appear onscreen, rather than every single drug recommendation, which would appear without this technology."
Faster diagnostic abilities and time saved on chart pulls helped Hyman quantify his decision to choose PhysicianSuite. "Each physician here sees between 45 to 60 patients per day," Hyman said. "To manually file and pull each paper chart took two-and-a-half minutes (on average). Each physician here has saved about 180 minutes per day since this is no longer required, and that is additional time that can be spent on patient care."
Using an EMR system has also increased the number of patients UPG physicians can see per day, which has boosted revenue. Financial numbers were not available from UPG.
While Hyman maintains that PhysicianSuite has made a significant difference for his colleagues and himself, he said he would like to see better reporting capabilities and also a more in-depth prescription-writing component.
Imedica officials declined to disclose pricing information for PhysicianSuite.