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   RE: Emr /practice management
 From: Vahe Keukjian
 To: Member Forum
 Posted: 11-22-2016 13:36

I have used 4 EMR's over the past 16 years:  first, SOAPware (pre-version 5.0) in a group multispecialty practice, then eClinical Works in a hospital-based system, then Practice Fusion in my own practice, switching to Amazing Charts Cloud version.  The pre-version 5.0 SOAPware was a great, intuitive, adaptable, straightforward EMR, but subsequent versions got lost in needless complexity.  If anyone approaches you about eClinical Works, run screaming in the opposite direction.  We used Meditech for PM at the multispecialty group and later in the hospital system, but also had full-time billing staff.  

In my office, I started with Practice Fusion because it was free, cloud-based, easy to use and had a (fairly primitive) one-way billing interface with Kareo, the PM system I chose.  I would have started with Amazing Charts, but they had no cloud option at the time and I did not want to have to maintain a database.  About two years ago, I made the hop from PF to AC, while my partner remained with PF.  PF exported my demographic data into AC, but all other information had to be re-entered manually, which is a drag, but.....We have used Updox (which is miraculous) from the beginning, currently configured for AC, which means a couple of extra steps to put things from Updox into PF, but it's not that big a deal.  AC and Kareo have a better, though imperfect, interface, with demographic information populating both programs and billing going one way.   AC is a more versatile, better organized and navigable EMR than PF,  very cheap and their help desk has been extremely diligent, and though they are not always available by phone or chat, they return messages promptly.  But, if I had to, I would happily continue using PF, Updox and Kareo in combination.  Kareo's EHR is mediocre, and clearly an appendage of their PM program, but I have found their PM program very reliable and my receptionist-biller likes it, also.  Their help desk has generally been prompt and effective.  I subscribe to their premium package, which includes the maximum support.  Five years in, I might actually be able to do with a less comprehensive plan, but I haven't changed and I would highly recommend all the bells and whistles when starting out.

On the matter of bells and whistles, my partner and I decided not to chase Meaningless Use or the subsequent, mini-carrots held out by Medicare and Medicaid to date, though we'll have to deal with MACRA; therefore, I can't tell you how good the reporting functions of either PF or AC might be.  So far, we also have not wanted to go through the headache of patient portals or email, nor do we want online scheduling.  Our patients seem to get hold of us just fine by phone.  We use RingCentral for that, which I'd also recommend.  They aren't any less unreliable than trunk-line phone companies and you can use it anywhere in the world there's an internet connection.

Vahe Keukjian
Your Family Doc PC
Ghent NY
Original Message:
Sent: 11-18-2016 06:37
From: Margaret Coughlan
Subject: Emr /practice management

Hello all,

I have been using Athena for over 4 years. It is quite expensive but very comprehensive.  They do my billing and posting as well as patient portal, etc. However I have issues with customer support lately so in the market to switch vendors. Two questions,  anyone love their emr/pm program?  Second, anyone switch after several years, how hard is it? That is one of the issues with this whole thing, we almost get stuck to keep the same one due to inertia...

Margaret Coughlan MD
Millbrook, NY

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