An Inside Look at the Future of GI EHR Systems

After opening his own practice, Rajiv Sharma, MD, of Indiana-based Digestive Health Associates, was looking for an EHR; what he found was family.

This content is sponsored by gMed®, A Modernizing Medicine® Company.

Dr. Sharma recently launched his own GI practice in Terre Haute, Ind., and he sought a futuristic and scalable EHR to help him stay ahead of the curve. Once he narrowed down the characteristics and features he wanted, the decision was simple. He had first experienced the gGastro® EHR system while practicing in a large Evansville, Ind.-based GI group, so he contacted the vendor, gMed®, a Modernizing Medicine® Company, when planning his own practice.

Dr. Sharma shared the details of the EHR implementation process and his experience with the gGastro suite of products and services with Becker's ASC Review.

"The good old days of paper records are gone," Dr. Sharma said.

Created with gastroenterology at its core, gGastro was designed to help bring back the speed and convenience of paper note-taking with the added benefits of cutting-edge technology. gGastro features both server- and cloud-based options and uses automation to streamline billing, collections and scheduling. The EHR is interoperable, thereby increasing workflow efficiencies and data gathering for quality reporting. The EHR allows multiple parties to access the record and input data concurrently, facilitating a collaborative environment.

For Dr. Sharma, not only did gGastro provide him with a comprehensive EHR solution, but also because he chose the cloud-based option, it eliminated the technological infrastructure demands a server-based EHR places on practices. The EHR is hosted in the cloud, so wherever he goes, the EHR goes.

"By eliminating the server, I reduced the risk of theft, crashing and physical damage. It took away my pain," Dr. Sharma said. "I'm able to access the EMR from multiple locations and all I need is my laptop. We can pretty much set up a clinic anywhere."

One part of the implementation process stood out for Dr. Sharma: the deployment process. He brought a team of gMed employees on site for the practice's go-live day, and they remained for several days to train physicians, employees and administrators. The entire experience made an impression on Dr. Sharma.

"They were amazing people," Dr. Sharma said. "Amazing support. [They were] very cool, very composed and every time we had an issue on site, they called the central office and had it taken care of. It was like butter."

Within three days the EHR system was up and running and the staff felt they were proficiently trained. Both the vendor's leadership and the whole implementation team contributed to the smooth gGastro rollout.

Even after the EHR went live, the implementation process wasn't over. Dr. Sharma and Digestive Health Associates' team members flew to Boca Raton, Fla., to the vendor's headquarters, where the contingent met with several top executives.

"I put a name to a face and a face to name when I met the team who created my EHR system," Dr. Sharma said. "Instead of working with [a larger technology company] and having random people answer my phone calls with no idea what was happening, I felt very much at home and very welcome. It's like you're joining a family."

The sentiment was one Dr. Sharma's staff felt too. Millennials make up the majority of his staff, so most are proficient with technology and demand an intuitive user interface. Since implementing gGastro, Dr. Sharma has received several compliments from his staff on the ease of use. For example, when a referral arrives via electronic fax and enters the gGastro system, an employee can simply drag the referral into the patient's record and begin the scheduling process. After the visit, Dr. Sharma can attach his voice dictation to the record and send his findings to the patient's primary care provider. The experience two recently hired nurse assistants had with the gGastro EHR is reflective of its simplicity, said Dr. Sharma.

It only took a couple of weeks for them to learn how to use the system. When he enters the room, the medical record is already updated, so he doesn't bother the patient with redundant questions. Rather, the patient is ready for his/her examination, it starts immediately and the patient is sent home. It's a smooth process for all involved.

"The patients love it because I don't waste time," Dr. Sharma said. "I can get straight to the point, talk treatment plans and then we're done. [gGastro] improves efficiency and workflow."

What gGastro can do for you

The gGastro system is one of the company's several gastroenterology-focused products; another is the Endoscopy Report Writer (ERW). The ERW software streamlines the interfacing of clinical notes and images directly into the EHR. The ERW then generates a single-page version of the report based on findings input into the patient record. The software can then create and forward custom reports for the patient, their PCP, the pathology department and any other relevant party.

Although Dr. Sharma has not launched an endoscopy center yet, he used the ERW at his previous practice. He described the ERW as comprehensive and futuristic, much like the EHR. "Everything is [created] after the case is done and it has a meaningful value to it," he said. "My PCPs loved the reports. They said, ‘Thanks, your report is one page telling me what you're thinking. We already know you saw the patient and examined them. We want to know what you're going to do next.'"

The ERW is interoperable and can be cloud-based as well. It's part of a full suite of additional services in the gGastro suite that also includes gInsightsTM, gAdvisorTM and the gPMTM practice management solution.

The gInsights analytics platform helps ease the billing and collections process by providing a variety of financial reports. It also pulls clinical data to track quality measures and helps practices meet value-based initiatives. Similarly, gAdvisor connects practices to gMed's certified advisors, who monitor each provider's progress on MIPS and use clinical data to suggest workflow adjustments, helping the providers achieve MIPS success. gPM integrates the gastroenterology practice with the endoscopy center to centralize the medical and financial data into one secure system for scheduling, billing and document management.

Practices can use the products concurrently to benchmark their performance on a local, regional and national level in near-real time. Practices can also analyze operations and revenue, and gInsights provides advanced patient population management and clinical intelligence data.

As an official member of the gMed family, Dr. Sharma is a proponent of the gGastro suite of products. Lauding the EHR for its interoperability, ease of use and forward-thinking components, he can't imagine life with any other EHR. To Dr. Sharma, gMed is the future of EHRs.

"It's futuristic and forward-thinking," Dr. Sharma said. "It's the EHR designed for future GI doctors."

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