Dr. Jill Dickerson has built a busy and dynamic pediatric practice. When her practice decided to replace its former EHR —abandoning the other software for insufficient templating capabilities — she knew that she needed something that was intuitive, yet well-equipped enough to meet the needs of her practice.
Having been in private pediatric medicine for sixteen years, Dr. Dickerson has seen how much time and money are wasted on inefficient EHRs that do not match the pace and demands of a growing practice, are difficult to learn, and/or do not offer sufficient templating options for busy physicians.
Dr. Dickerson needed an EHR she could mold to meet the needs of her practice, as well as one that could keep up with the rapidly increasing size of her patient base.
Dr. Jill Dickerson opened her private practice in December 2012. Called Vibrant Kids, the practice focuses on individualized medical care with added emphasis on treating children who suffer from conditions like ADHD, Autism and other chronic diseases and disorders.
Vibrant Kids is different from other pediatric practices in that it integrates traditional care with evidence-based biomedical therapies. Additionally, her practice offers one of two lab draw stations in their local county.
The lab see hundreds of additional patients each month seeking more efficient lab work, making Vibrant Kids unique in what it needs as far as billing and electronic recording.
Dr. Dickerson knew what she was looking for — it was only a matter of finding it. She had used three different EHRs over the years as well as one privately-designed EHR that Vibrant Kids had implemented when it first opened in 2012.
Two issues she had with other EHRs (high-operating costs aside) were templates that required her to handwrite prescriptions as well as ineffective designs making the EHR difficult-to-use.
“I've used A4 (now Allscripts) and the local hospitals in my county use EPIC. I know the nurses that use EPIC have to click five or six different windows just to accept an incoming phone call. When you’re receiving 30 calls any given morning, this setup is a huge problem for the staff.
Furthermore, my practice is always adding more things to our templates, as insurance demands increase. These other EHRs weren’t going to allow me or my practice to do what we needed.
If I ever wanted to make a change to them I had to call IT and tell those guys what I wanted instead of making the changes myself.
When I first started with EHRs this was daunting because I didn’t really know what I wanted —I just knew that the current EHR process was not quite good enough. But as I became a bit more ‘EHR savvy,’ I realized I didn’t want to talk to someone else every time I wanted to make a change and tell them how I wanted my notes to look.
I wanted to be able to build it myself.”
Going into the search for an EHR, Dr. Dickerson had a few nonnegotiable requirements. One important one was that it needed to be visual.
“I'm a visual person. I wanted to be able to know quickly where things were on the screen and where I could find features. This enables me to click through it faster and ultimately save time.
As a physician I am not a computer engineer and I don’t want to be one. I want to be able to get to my patient information and see it right away. The EHR had to be simple to figure out. Complicated EHRs are big time wasters.”
Dr. Dickerson also needed versatile templates that she could design and replicate herself.
“Within the practice we have patients consults that do not fit into a regular type of note, and free-typing notes is just insane. To retype the same type of notes all the time doesn’t make sense, especially when factoring in EHR costs.
I was asking myself, are we going to have to pay a hundred more dollars for every hundred patients we see? We knew we were growing and because of this we needed something that was affordable, yet still met the needs of our practice.”
Dr. Dickerson’s search for a permanent EHR ended at a Medical Academy of Pediatrics Special Needs (MAPS) conference.
“I was at a MAPS conference, speaking with other physicians about EHRs they were using in their practices. Over and over I got great feedback about ChARM EHR. These physicians were telling me that I’d be able to design what we wanted out of an EHR and it would save my practice a lot of money for better service.
I decided to give ChARM EHR a try.”
From the beginning Dr. Dickerson found ChARM EHR to be user-friendly.
“With the other EHRs it seemed that nobody thought about the physicians and what it really meant to practice medicine when they were designing them. Not having to hand-write every prescription saves an extraordinary amount of time.
ChARM has been very simple to figure out and it even helps me in my practice! Knowing that you’re taken seriously is also very nice. If ever there is an issue with something, someone in IT is so fast to get back to us and remedy the problem. Honestly though, all the improvements have just made it better.”
“We are growing by leaps and bounds. We went from 1500 patients when we started to about 4800 today. That growth happened in less than three years! I have no doubt that ChARM EHR has a played a huge role in this growth.”
As a result of this growth, Vibrant Kids has also added a physician assistant, another nurse and additional front office staff.
“The system has been able to grow seamlessly with the practice. For me, I come in I check my messages, I check my labs, I look at my schedule and get running, and it’s all so easy for me to see. I can start my notes ahead of time if I am really feeling “on the ball.” Our naturopath has all her notes started before she goes into her consults and then we can collaborate with one another because she’s seeing the parents of my patients a lot of times. As a bonus, our patients love the patient portal!”
“I would definitely recommend ChARM EHR! It will save you money and time, and it’s easier to use than anything else out there.”