It feels like the transition to EMR is coming to an end. We now have over 800 old charts scanned to pdf out of 1250 active rostered patients, and accessing a previous record on my network is very easy (load the folder where the charts are kept, then double click on the file). We have emptied the first filing cabinet and are ready to sell it.
Most of the left over transition work consists of data entry for the CPPs; I am doing most of that from home, via remote access. I do not carry charts home, only CPPs.
My partner is away this week and the next. When I see one of his patients, I use the EMR, because I can record the visit, write a prescription, and bill faster that way. I then print the encounter and put it in his paper chart; it will now be legible for him. I will be away for two weeks after his return. During that time, he will copy me on lab reqs (so that I can get the results electronically); he'll have a quick look at letters and faxes, which will then be scanned in; he'll have access to my old charts on his computer desktop; my staff will print CPPs for him when he sees one of my patients, and the visit notes will then be scanned in. My resident is in a half day per week, and we'll book my patients to see her; she can enter encounters and prescriptions directly in the EMR, and the encounter will be left on my desktop to sign off later. Although it is a little more difficult to arrange vacation coverage in a hybrid practice, it is possible.
I've been printing CPPs for my patients when they come in for their annual physical, and asking them to review the information and to let me know if any corrections are needed. We've also been talking about secure access to charts for patients. My patients are very interested in this. The EMR certainly makes it possible; I think this type of thing can't be too far away. We'll likely need Government help to manage access and security. I would be very happy to take part in such a project.
I still need to figure out how to do electronic Diagnostic Imaging requisitions, and will probably start to use those instead of the paper-based reqs. The electronic lab reqs and pap smear reqs are not ready yet; once they are available, I'll start using them. There is not very much paper-based work that remains in my office; I have to say that I do not miss the paper at all.