Dr. Natale Falanga, a solo practitioner in East Stroudsburg, PA, is the first to admit that he is not exactly a “tech-savvy” person. When he first considered the prospect of adopting electronic health records (EHR), it seemed like a daunting task. But after attending a meeting held by PA REACH East in the Fall of 2010, Dr. Falanga realized the importance of making the transition, and of taking advantage of the federally subsidized assistance available through the PA REACH East program.
After completing his research, Dr. Falanga selected the Greenway Medical Technologies – Prime Suites EHR system. Dr. Falanga and his Office Manager Lorraine Falanga (with whom he is also married), worked closely with PA REACH East Project Coordinator Matt Armstrong to ensure a smooth transition to their EHR system.
“He has been a constant source of support through what at times has been a challenging process… We would call Matt to review issues, EHR contracts, and various functions of the system that were giving us some trouble,” said Mrs. Falanga. “We were expecting the worst with the transition to an EHR, but it turned out to be much better than expected.”
Dr. Falanga’s practice implemented the Greenway EHR on August 17, 2011. Dr. Falanga successfully attested to Meaningful Use on November 17, 2011.
Patients have reacted positively to the EHR. Some of his older patients, used to leaving the office with a paper prescription in hand, were initially unsure about e-prescribing. But over time, patient comfort with the new system has increased. For his part, Dr. Falanga is thrilled with the e-prescribing function of his system.
The EHR also provides Dr. Falanga with a more complete picture of his patient’s medical history right at his fingertips, which he cites as a critical tool to improve patient care.
The billing staff at Dr. Falanga’s practice also loves the EHR. It provides the practice with a more efficient billing system and provides patient invoices that are clearer and easier to understand. As a result, the practice receives fewer questions and encounters less conflict about its invoices.
“We are so pleased with our EHR,” said Dr. Falanga. “It just goes to show that you really can teach a old dog new tricks.”
Dr. Falanga cites two challenges that he encountered that other practices should consider as they plan their transition. First, he found it challenging to maintain patient volumes during the “Go-Live” phase. He also found that it took time and effort to determine the best way to incorporate the EHR into patient workflows.