We survived our first week on our new electronic health records system! After 15 years on EncounterPro, we have updated to a new company, Office Practicum, that offers many new bells and whistles.
It's always intimidating when there's a change. Our workflow and efficiency have slowed temporarily as we are all learning something new. There are these temporary downsides, but we're so excited about all the new features! Some of the features we love behind the scenes will not mean much to families, but there are many I'll mention below that you might appreciate.
I anticipate one of my favorite features will continue to be the ability to see a patient's prescription formulary as long as we have the correct insurance information. We are able to check formularies and change medicines as needed to make it cheaper for the patient. This first week already I was able to change two long-term medicines to less expensive options because I could see the formulary. I have been so frustrated in the past trying several medicines before finding one a family can afford. Sometimes there aren't inexpensive options, but being able to know that as I'm prescribing a medicine will at least allow us to have the discussion at the time of the appointment.
We can e-prescribe medicines we couldn't previously send electronically. This will make it faster and easier for families to have medicine ready at the pharmacy and decrease the risk of losing paper prescriptions. The pharmacy will have to be able to receive these prescriptions, but so far I haven't run into any that are unable.
We will soon have a portal that links to the chart, so parents will be able to view parts of their child's chart and even print out school and sports forms, vaccine records, and more. (This will only work after your child has been seen for a physical with the new system, so will be more useful over time.) When the portal is up and running we will send instructions to families on how to set up and use it.
We will be able to send patient handouts through the portal, so if there are complicated instructions or a parent needs more information about a topic, there are many handouts available to send.
We can easily adjust growth charts for prematurity and there are built in growth charts for specific groups, such as children with Down Syndrome. This will help parents see their child's growth in a way that's more meaningful in special situations.
We will be able to share vaccine information with the Kansas Vaccine Registry.This will allow authorized users, such as other medical providers and schools, to verify vaccines previously given. This is important because in the past I've seen kids get duplicate vaccines because they didn't have complete records available and needed proof of a vaccine. An extra dose does not harm the child, but increases healthcare costs by giving a vaccine that isn't needed. When we are able to use registries to verify vaccines as more and more places participate, this will decrease that burdon.
We apologize for any inconvenience as we're all learning the new system, but I hope you'll find that the benefits are worth the troubles!