VOL. 114 | NO. 244 | Wednesday, December 20, 2000
By SUZANNE THOMPSON
Doctor-developed software helps automate offices
By SUZANNE THOMPSON
The Daily News
Staff members at Dr. George Woodbury Jr.s office shook heads and shrugged shoulders when they read an article in an October issue of a local paper about members of a medical practice who were planning to go paperless.
Woodburys office eliminated paper charts more than two years ago.
"There are no charts in this office. Im talking absolutely no charts," he said.
The dermatologist practices from two locations, seeing between 200 and 250 patients each week.
All employees in Woodburys office use computers and computers are found in every treatment room.
"Theres lots of pointing and clicking, so employees arent required to be computer literate, just keyboard friendly," said Michelle Coker, manager of sales and support for MedComplete Solutions, a newly incorporated company formed by Woodbury and Dr. Cathy Chapman, a practicing rheumatologist.
Woodbury and Chapman incorporated the new entity to handle the software-end of their business. The name, MedComplete Solutions, was chosen because it represents their technology-assisted approach to running a medical office.
In addition to appointment scheduling, the software manages billing and financial reports, has digital photography capability, contains a prescription pad and facilitates electronic filing of insurance claim forms.
"Its rather unique in that sense," Woodbury said.
Having software that does everything a doctor needs in the operation of a medical practice stems from the fact the software was designed by doctors.
"Its actually a piece of software developed by users, designed by users, owned by users and supported by users," Woodbury said.
MedComplete Solutions provides technical support for the software, along with a week of training for office staffers.
The latest version of the software, 3.0, is being released today. Although the software is configured for Woodburys office, with minor adjustments, it can work in any doctors office, he said.
"We deliberately designed it that way so it would not be used just by a dermatologist, but by any physician," he said.
Information specific to a physicians area of specialty, such as insurance billing codes and the prescriptions would need to be entered.
"Its something were glad to input if they can just provide us with the information," Coker said.
Woodbury admits that his approach to office administration is atypical for a medical practice.
A substantial number of physicians dont have Internet access in their offices, he said.
The latest version of the software also offers Internet access, Woodbury said.
The benefit of Internet access is this, if a cable between two offices goes down, patient records can still be accessed via the Web.
Woodbury said although hes been using the software for more than two years, he is constantly learning aspects of using it that increase his efficiency and performance.
"This software puts the doctor in the drivers seat in running the office," he said. "It really allows the physician to be in close contact with other people in the office."
Coker said patient satisfaction with the software product has been extremely high.
Doctors enter information into the computer while the patient is still in the examining room, and the physician prints out a summary of the visit that the patient can take.
"They leave with a printout of their office visit," Coker said.
Because the physician is entering the data as the visit occurs, it eliminates inaccuracies that may occur because when a doctor tries to recall everything about the visit and dictate it into a machine.
The system also eliminates redundancies, and by the time the patient reaches the checkout counter, the office worker knows when an appointment is to be scheduled for a return visit, and can begin scheduling, saving the patient time, too.
"It saves work and improves quality. You cant argue with that," Woodbury said.