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Health IT Success Stories

Dr. Salesin Explains How Budget Cuts Prompted Him to Go Paperless

'I developed my own EMR and used it for about 30,000 patients.' --Doctor Michael Salesin

Sometimes it just takes a little nudge in the right – or wrong – direction to spur someone to adopt Health IT. For Dr. Michael Salesin, a West Bloomfield, MI gynecologist, it came in the form of budget cuts. The 72-year-old doctor was working at Detroit Medical Center when the administration there decided it needed to save some money and targeted transcription services. For Dr. Salesin – who described himself as a meticulous documenter – this equated to about $25,000 to $27,000 in annual transcription costs.

“They were in a cost-cutting mood. They said ‘We are going to cut out dictations and go back to pencil and paper.’ That was an incredibly stupid move,” Dr. Salesin said. In his mind, explained Dr. Salesin, sloppy documentation opens the door to a mistake which can lead to a malpractice lawsuit.

The administrators weren’t listening when he complained, so Dr. Salesin went to work to build his own “bare bones” Health IT system.

“So I developed my own EMR and used it for about 30,000 patients,” he said.

Eventually he turned to Cerner and his three-physician practice is now almost completely paperless.

Push Back on Health IT System

“I have a partner who said ‘I will never, ever do it.’ Now you ask him and he says, ‘How could you possibly do without it?’ He couldn’t read my writing and I couldn’t read his,” Dr. Salesin said.

They have cut overhead costs by nearly eliminating paper and although the local mammography clinics send paper test results, the practice administrators scan them back into the medical records.

Patients Love It

Dr. Salesin said about 95 percent of his patients access electronic data from their records through an IQHealth portal and are especially interested in test results. The next step is providing patients with the documentation from the exams and Salesin is working with Cerner techies to make it happen.

“I clearly feel that once we started this, that I’m a better doctor for it,” Dr. Salesin said.

“If something comes up in my face [a prompt from the system] and reminds me of something … it really makes me a much more involved doctor,” he said.

Dr. Salesin says that the system is a huge financial benefit:

  • The practice uses fewer FTEs
  • Has significantly lowered paper costs
  • The workflow has ticked upward

The most important step, he said, is training. “Prior to going live you have to sit down with someone who knows the system,” he said.