“We have all these companies creating products without active participation from clinical end-users, leaving us stuck where we are today,” he says. “But the more actively involved you are and the more feedback we as physicians can give, the more we can make these products more clinically relevant.”
New models, same frustrations
Like Jun and Smith, primary care physician Richard Berry, MD, recently made a change in his work status. But rather than switching employers, Berry struck out on his own to become self-employed.
In 2015, the Seiling, Oklahoma-based doctor founded UpFront Health, a direct primary care (DPC) practice in a rural part of the state. Having previously worked in a fee-for-service practice and done locum hospital work, Berry was no stranger to EHRs. Still, he sought advice from colleagues when selecting an EHR for his new practice.
By and large, EHRs are designed for practices or hospitals that accept third-party payments. As such, the systems include billing, coding and other features not required by physicians working in the mostly insurance-free DPC model.
Berry picked an AtlasMD system that met most of his needs. But even as recently as this year, he contemplated switching to an EHR better suited to his DPC practice.
And that’s Berry’s advice to fellow physicians considering a change: They should find the best fit for their practice.
“First, go to the person who’s selling you the system and get a huge list of features,” he says. “Then sit down and put a line through everything that has nothing to do with your practice, whether it is payer-related features or features for [Medicare payment reform] and see what’s left on your list. Then, look for the software that does that. That’s an EHR you can live with.”