Dr. Kemp Discusses EHR Implementation After 50 Years of Practice
After practicing medicine for over 50 years one would think a physician would have learned everything they want to know about the medical field. However, Dr. Charles Edward Kemp has decided that he will never stop learning and adapting to new practices in the medical field.
“Everything changes, and you either change or you fall behind,” said Dr. Kemp. “You have to realize that medicine is a changing, developing science. EHRs are just another component of that.”
Dr. Kemp currently practices at the Children’s Clinic in Jonesboro, Arkansas and has been working there since 1959. The clinic includes 12 other physicians.
The Decision Process
Before pursuing EHR adoption, Dr. Kemp needed to think about the needs of his clinic and how EHRs could help. Without much thought he did know one thing – that handwritten doctor charts and notes are messy and disorganized and can cause errors and lost information.
“Our old records were disorganized and extremely difficult to read. We occasionally lost medical records and they were difficult to find” Dr. Kemp said.
Dr. Kemp knew that EHRs could help with some of the difficulties at his practice but there was still one thing on his mind – the cost of implementing EHRs.
“Converting to an EHR system was not a difficult decision, but we did have to weigh the cost,” said Dr. Kemp. “ For approximately one month, I couldn’t see as many patients as I did before, but after about a month, I found myself seeing as many patients – if not more – than I ever did.”
After doing preliminary research, Dr. Kemp decided to start using EHRs in 2007 and has been very happy with the results thus far.
Benefits of EHR Adoption
Once Dr. Kemp and his staff adopted EHR's they saw the benefits almost immediately. He found that EHRs help the physician be more thorough when asking the patient for information.
“It’s [EHR] very systematic, and it keeps me better organized,” said Dr. Kemp. “It really helps me if I’m seeing one of my partners’ patients and the partner is not in the clinic, it really has been an enormous improvement.”
Dr. Kemp has also realized how EHR can help with privacy and security issues in his clinic.
“Its [EHRs] been an asset by alerting us if there is a specific situation about a case that we need to be aware of, such as legal questions about guardianship, and who can and cannot see the medical record.”
Dr. Kemp and his partner’s also implemented e-prescribing as part of their EHR system. This allows the physicians to send prescriptions electronically, making it easier for the pharmacist to read then before with handwritten prescriptions.
“Accuracy is a big benefit. We’re far less inclined to make an error with the EHR, particularly with the doses of prescriptions. The accuracy of the system is far better than calculating doses from memory.”
Dr. Kemp also notes that his patients are very pleased with the e-Prescribing feature he uses with EHR system.
“It speeds things up for the patients. Usually, by the time they get to the drugstore, their prescription is filled and all they have to do is pick it up. We haven’t seen or heard of any problems.”
Lessons Learned from EHR Adoption
Dr. Kemp and his partners are all in when it comes to EHRs and believe that other physicians should start considering the transition. He has seen an improvement in the quality of care in his clinic and believes that it could be done at any clinic in across the country. He is aware that some physicians are scared to take the leap. However he wants other physicians to not be afraid.
“I think that’s a mistake to be afraid. I’m an older physician, and if I can do this, anybody can. It’s not that difficult. EHRs can’t do anything but improve health care, “said Dr. Kemp.
“It’s essential that we change through the years and embrace change. To keep up, to advance and to change in the modern era, you have got to use an EHR in your practice.”