EMR Conversion Announcement

EMR Conversion Announcement

The reason we are telling you about this transition is because while it will be a positive change, you will see a few issues while we implement this new system.  All systems will be down for several days as we make sure all of your data transfers safely from one system to another. You may notice longer visit times as we learn the system and adjust our workflow. In addition, it may take longer to get forms completed while the systems are down. While we will do our best, it is possible that we will have less appointment slots available while we train. Some of our interfaces that you rely on will be unavailable for several weeks including patient reminders and the ever popular patient portal.  Please be patient with staff and physicians as we navigate this new system! 

By Dr. James Keffer

Every time we see your child in the office or speak to you over the phone about a refill or a concern, we make a record in your child’s chart. This is to ensure that we know what concerns you may have had or what we did during the visit. Charts or medical records have been around for thousands of years. Archaeologists have uncovered scrolls and tablets from ancient Egypt and Greece dating back to 1600 BC.

Paper records that are used for individual’s medical history date back to the 1700’s. Until the 2000’s, Old Harding Pediatric Associates used paper charts, which worked well but had limitations.

Handwritten notes require the nurse and physician to physically find and handle each patient’s chart and write legibly. Legibility being in the eye of the beholder, most of us [myself included] OVERestimate how good our handwriting is. One of my teachers in residency was notorious for being unable to read her own handwriting. Handwriting makes it harder for us doctors, nurses, and staff to communicate with one another through the chart, as well as providers outside of the practice that may need access to medical records.

For this and other reasons, OHPA went to electronic medical records {EMR] almost 20 years ago. The benefits include not having to keep two charts on each patient [one in Bellevue and one at Old Harding Pike location], eliminating handwriting challenges, enabling us to better participate in practice improvement efforts, and making it possible for multiple staff members to access the chart in one day.

Consider this example: If my son Michael has a fever and I call with a question, the triage staff can in seconds access his chart. They can then route the question to a nurse or doctor in seconds who can respond back quickly without having a delay to physically move that message back and forth between different areas of the office. If he is seen at Old Harding Pike office for a visit and later that day I call with a question, the on-call doctor or nurse can access his chart in less than a minute.

The EMRs that we use now also allow us password protected access from home via laptop or mobile device, improving our documentation of after-hours calls.

The challenge of EMR is that systems can become old and need replacing. This happened to us in 2010 when we changed from NoteWorthy to PrimeSuite, which was a big change – as they were built and maintained by different companies. The conversion took us months to prepare for and months to adjust to.

In September, we are doing another conversion but this time from one of their software platforms to another. This factor should make the conversion smoother than our last one.

The reason we are bringing this up is that during this conversion, our EMR will be down for one week while old system charts are imported into the new system. That means that getting immunization forms and other administrative forms completed for our patients may take longer than the typical 1-3 days it does now. Also, we’ll have to limit the number of visits available for each doctor each day. During our last conversion, we were back up like usual within a few days.

We are still here if you need us and hope to back to full capacity as soon as we are able. Thanks again for the privilege of working with your family.