Now Hear This: Greater Carolina ENT Improves Patient Care with WRS EMR
Managing an Ear, Nose & Throat Practice across three locations demands a robust collaboration tool, which is why Greater Carolina ENT is using WRS cloud EMR. Waiting Room Solutions gives Dr. Anita Jackson, her providers and office staff the ability to reach new levels of efficiency. By implementing WRS, the practice is greatly enhancing the care it provides to patients in many rural and underserved communities.
Founded in 1997, Greater Carolina Ear, Nose & Throat specializes in Otolaryngology with an emphasis on allergies and sinus conditions.The practice has multiple offices and is associated with FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital, Sandhills Regional Medical Center and Wake Medical Center.
Dr. Jackson’s practice serves about 200 patients each month. The myriad of conditions treated include ear infections, sore throats, thyroid disorders, laryngeal cancer, hoarseness (secondary to lung cancer), nose bleeds (secondary to newly diagnosed hypertension), allergic rhinitis and chronic sinusitis.
“Our goal is to provide good quality care and specialty care for communities that often do not have a specialist. We try to fill that need,” said Dr. Jackson.
Pointing out in her testimonial that she used an EMR prior to WRS, Dr. Jackson said, “Unfortunately it was not able to really provide our staff with easy access and Meaningful Use management.”
In 2010, Dr. Jackson evaluated five EMRs. “We looked at Mysys EMR, but it was cumbersome and very expensive. We also looked at EPIC, which a lot of hospitals use.” When queried what criteria WRS met on her EMR wish list, Dr. Jackson responded, “I needed an EMR that was easy to learn, so it had to be tech friendly. It also needed to be affordable and perform well in terms of managing claims and claims data. Lastly, it needed to meet Meaningful Use certification,” said Jackson, adding, “Someone referred WRS to me, and we implemented in 2011.”
WRS Billing Module Gets the Nod
Inefficient billing functions can have a disastrous result on a practice’s bottom line. “The WRS Billing Module allows us to be able to look at every claim and the status of its filing. We can see whether it’s been filed, whether it’s gone to secondary (insurance), whether it was filed but never received or whether it’s pending, and that’s really important. It allows us to look at everything in time oriented stages. You can also stratify that information by date and by carrier if you like, which is really helpful. It allows our staff to target specific problems that they may have only found due to an insurance glitch,” stated Dr. Jackson in her testimonial.
Paper charts are passé and Dr. Jackson couldn’t be happier. “My staff inputs all the data. Unlike paper charts where things can get lost and go missing, the EMR is a long term record. When a claim gets denied, you can go back and look to see whether you had the right (insurance) number or not. It’s helpful to have a copy of the card, but at least you have something to compare, to say the data entry was inaccurate,” Dr. Jackson said.
When it comes to the number of claims rejected since her practice implemented WRS, Dr. Jackson is all smiles. “That has improved. It has to do with the proficiency of the system, and also the ability of the staff to recognize where errors occur and to correct those. WRS helps to point those out.”
Keeping Tabs on Patients’ Health
Following up on patients’ healthcare needs is paramount to improving their health. “I like to be able to see that I can easily identify every patient with a certain diagnosis within a certain time period. WRS EMR allows you to do that because it requires you to define what your diagnosis is based on a date, and that’s been really helpful. The benefit is good patient follow up. We can look and say, ‘We ordered a CT scan for this patient and they still haven’t come back. What’s going on there?’ The system has automatic phone call and email reminders to patients, but it’s really nice to be able to look to see who showed up and who didn’t. You can see who was noncompliant and you are able to follow up with those patients,” said Dr. Jackson.
MU is Here to Stay
Meaningful Use financial incentives are a boon to a medical practice’s bottom line. But how do you go about meeting MU criteria? “If you don’t have a system that has the certifications, you won’t be eligible to be recognized by the government to receive the incentive reimbursement. Going forward, it won’t be an incentive reimbursement; you will just be able to maintain and get the money you actually bill for versus having a penalty. That is going to be critical. A lot of people say, ‘Oh, you received this extra money?’ Soon, if you don’t use MU the correct way, and don’t have a system that is certified, you will have a penalty. You’ll be seeing patients for free or you’ll be paying to see them. We have been able to get the MU funds because WRS was able to look at our report and make sure we were doing it right. WRS helped us meet the MU criteria,” said Dr. Jackson in her testimonial.
Reaching New Levels of Efficiency
Charting can be a laborious task. Not so for Dr. Jackson and her providers, who are using pre-existing ENT templates available in WRS. “There are several different Ear Nose & Throat templates which are really good, including head and neck and general Otolaryngology. We customized the templates to include a ‘skin’ option with each of the physical exam points because we see a lot of patients with allergies who complain about their skin. You can define what you see, the character and whether there’s redness, swelling or inflammation. Any of those types of adjectives can be added for any specific category and from there you can make your exam a little more detailed. It helps me when I see a patient the next time because I can compare from each previous visit whether there’s been improvement or whether there are new things.”
Dr. Jackson added, “There is also an ENT template for pediatrics. I highly encourage people to look at the templates that best fit your needs and to not be afraid to customize them to what you do because you know your patients best. When you are seeing children, they can’t really tell you how they are feeling. A lot of times, both their physical appearance and their ability to try to respond non verbally are helpful. We’re able to record these things in our electronic record.”
Your Complete Practice in the Cloud
So what does efficiency feel like when you have WRS cloud EMR? “The fact that it’s web-based allows you to get on any time you have a web connection. How much more accessible can you get than that? It’s portable so it allows your practice to be portable. I certainly access WRS after hours.” said Dr. Jackson in her testimonial.
Dr. Jackson is also reaping a plethora of benefits from using WRS e-prescribing capability. “E-prescribing allows people to get their prescriptions faster and it certainly allows the reconciliation of the medicine to occur at a real point in time. A lot of times people can’t remember all the medications they are on but with e-prescribing, you have an electronic list of medications and an electronic list of what you prescribed. Patients will call and say, ‘I need a refill of Ambien®, and we can look and say, ‘We never prescribed Ambien,’ which is very important to know. E-prescribing also decreases the potential for abuse. If we have to prescribe a narcotic, we can print that Rx directly from WRS.”
No More Telephone Tag
Making phone calls to remind patients of their appointment is a drag on the office staff’s daily efficiency. “The staff uses WRS Patient Scheduling and Appointment Reminders all the time which has decreased the amount of time spent calling people to remind them of their appointment. It’s been a really good way to confirm that the appointment was made and that a reminder was sent. There was a time when we canceled a clinic and one patient said that she was never told, but WRS actually informed her and she had responded. It was helpful to be able to point this out to her because she was angry with the practice until she realized that she had just forgotten that the clinic was canceled,” stated Dr. Jackson.
Patient Follow up Is Key
How can a provider stay abreast of changes in patients’ health conditions and medications and identify if there is a new health problem? “Patients, in particular, those who are battling obesity, need to have their medications changed. People’s weight or disease status change and WRS is really good at chronically keeping up with that. If patients lose weight I may have to change their medication or if they gain weight and their blood pressure is out of control I have to address that too. I can keep control of changes in health and medications and follow them to see if there is a new problem. I really like the patient follow-up features. They pop up to remind patients of their appointments, both electronically by email and by phone. We see cancer patients every four to six months and WRS reminds us to remind them about their appointment.
First Class Treatment
If you think customer service is a thing of the past, think again. “The support staff is really what sets WRS apart from a lot of other EMR companies. They have been very responsive to our questions as well as our needs right away. With most EMR companies, after clients have one or two training sessions, the EMR staff lets them go and they’re on their own. We’ve continued to have a very good working relationship with the WRS staff and they continue to give us as much support as we need. I don’t think you can get better service than that,” stated Dr. Jackson.
More Family Time
Does WRS free Dr. Jackson to pursue any hobbies? “Do I have any hobbies? I have a two- year-old. WRS really does free me up. You have to free yourself for family,” said Dr. Jackson. And if you take a look at Dr. Jackson’s waiting room it’s evident that she bends over backwards to please her patients’ kids too. “We have a little toy room for the children, we have video games and two big flat screen TVs in the lobby,” she stated.
WRS EMR in the National Spotlight
EMR recommendations are hard to come by but Waiting Room Solutions makes it look easy. “I recommend WRS to my colleagues. When we first got the EMR, we introduced WRS to the ENT section at the National Medical Association Meeting in Washington, D.C. because we were impressed. We did webinar and phone training and the WRS staff was excellent. WRS notes are very good and they have a professional appearance. They certainly hit all the high points of what you did with the patient. I’m very comfortable with a system that was created by one of my ENT colleagues. I thought that was great. I’m extremely satisfied with WRS. I couldn’t be happier” said Dr. Jackson to conclude her testimonial.