While often seen in a negative light, some physicians have found ways to incorporate electronic medical records to improve their practice.
For many retina specialists, and with many other specialists, the introduction of electronic medical records (EMR) or electronic health records (EHR) into their practices has meant headaches and lost time. Fast-forward to now, and while some physicians still struggle to incorporate the new technology, many physicians have found a way to make their EMR fit their practice and not the other way around.
Carl Regillo, MD, director of retina service at Wills Eye Hospital and professor of ophthalmology at Thomas Jefferson University, is one of those physicians. At the 2019 American Society of Retina Specialists Annual Meeting, Regillo sat down with MD Magazine® to discuss everything from brolucizumab to what he would like to see changed in his field and how the implementation of an EMR/EHR has impacted his practice.
MD Mag: How has the implementation of an EMR/EHR impacted your work?
Regillo: Well, it's an interesting thing. If you ask me that question when EMRs first came into our practice I would have given you a different answer — because initially implementing EMR was a costly, time-consuming, and disruptive process that slowed us down but now that most of the patients we see our existing patients — and a small percentage is new (patients) added on to that — but now that all these patients under management are under care are in the system, it is now shifted towards I think making us more efficient.
You may not get everyone to say that, because it depends on the EMR system. The EMR system that our practice uses was actually designed and created by a retina specialist. So, it's ophthalmology specific and very user-friendly; whereas, EMR platforms that are sort of general medicine and then retro actively configured or customized to ophthalmology tend to be a little more cumbersome — at least, that's what I hear from my colleagues in big healthcare systems or hospitals where they are forced to use these broader based EMR systems. But the one we're using is really well-suited for ophthalmology and I think it now allows for greater efficiencies and there's no perfect system out there, but I think they're improving and I think in hindsight it ended up being a good thing and there's some other advantages too. Research, easily accessing records from distant past rather than having someone scramble to find a physical record that might be stored somewhere or off-site. I mean, it's only going to get better.