Treating close to 500 patients per month, internist and cardiologist Dr. Naresh Kumar finds that ABELMed EHR-EMR/PM software makes a big difference in managing his busy practice. Dr. Kumar believes that ABELMed helps him provide exceptional health care to an ever-growing number of patients.
As a sole practitioner for more than 25 years, the Whitby, Ontario specialist opened his clinic in 1985 and currently operates an additional satellite office at the Bay/Bloor area in the center of downtown Toronto.
Over the years, Dr. Kumar has developed detailed chronic disease management follow-up programs tailored for each patient, developing these programs during the early-assessment stage and encouraging patients to follow them for continuity of care. Dr. Kumar believes that for each of his patients, structured follow up is important for successful health outcomes. To enable such detailed assessment, Dr. Kumar uses his customized ABELMed system to track patients’ medical conditions at every stage.
When Dr. Kumar opened his practice, he used a paper-based system that soon became very cumbersome and inefficient. He quickly realized that an EMR could help streamline both the business and clinical aspects of his practice.
"We recognized that an EMR was the way of the future and that paper was creating a physical storage issue," says Dr. Kumar. "My administrative staff kept suggesting that we start using an EMR for everything. I seriously investigated the possibilities and am happy to report that today we are truly paperless."
"As soon as I adopted ABELMed in the late 1980s, I looked forward to benefiting from the efficiency of using an EMR and practice management system; I knew it could help me keep track of the many complicated cases that I see in the clinic," says Dr. Kumar. "I started off using ABELMed just for billing and booking appointments, but I soon realized that I could use the system for much more. As a solo practitioner, I needed a system to streamline the repetitive tasks I was doing every day to allow me to spend more time with my patients."
Dr. Kumar says that if it weren’t for ABELMed, he wouldn’t be able to maintain his fast-paced practice and keep his administrative costs down to a minimum. Previously, he required two secretaries and 16 hours of a dictatypist’s time each week just to manage the many paper files and notes that he needed to prepare.
"Now that I have gone totally paperless, I have reduced my day-to-day administration to just one full-time secretary and only eight hours of a dictatypist’s time per week. This has allowed me to reassign my second secretary to manage other aspects of my practice more efficiently," adds Dr. Kumar.
Removing the paper charts has also opened up 800 square feet in the Whitby office; Dr. Kumar now uses this space for a cardiac rehab clinic that helps him to provide even better, more comprehensive health care services for his patients.
Mobility is another significant benefit of using the ABELMed system to the fullest, says Dr. Kumar. "Because I spend a lot of my time moving back and forth between my two clinics, I don’t have to carry paper files with me. I always have access to my patient files and history online," he notes. "For example, I saw a patient in Whitby two weeks ago, but she is in my downtown office for a follow-up today. By calling up her chart remotely from my Whitby server, I can instantly access her full history and prepare ahead of time for her visit."
As another immediate benefit, Dr. Kumar adds that he can access patient files from anywhere in the world. "Through mobile applications, I am always in touch with the practice. The way ABELMed is configured and the way patient information is stored, I can access notes and encounters on my smartphone or tablet anytime, anywhere," he explains. "I can connect to ABELMed via the web and see any patient’s blood work, lab results, ultrasound imaging, stress test results and other diagnostics right away. Based on the information, I can call my patients and tell them what I want them to do and when I want to see them next. It is absolutely incredible. I don’t know how ABELMed does this but I’m grateful. For a solo, specialized practitioner, this is an invaluable feature."
As ABELMed has evolved, so has the way Dr. Kumar uses the system, especially its consultation notes and charting modules. "I looked at the notes other doctors were sending me. They were using an EMR but the notes looked computer-generated. I spoke to ABEL and they customized a special program suited to my cardiology practice. It automatically populates relevant patient information such as past history, allergies and medications and allows me to add my impressions and recommendations in my own words. This is the best of both worlds for me. Before I used this feature, charting like this usually took two to three hours of dictation. Now it is done in 30 minutes. This feature is very important for a specialist like me who sends a consult note on every patient I see to the referring physician."
Meanwhile, Dr. Kumar says that ABELMed has helped his patient interactions become both more thorough and streamlined. "Because of the software’s patient-encounter flexibility, I can write my own templates with a list of questions that I need to ask the patient during an assessment examination. It keeps me focused on the patient’s needs."
Dr. Kumar sums up his software review by giving ABELMed’s prescription feature a 10 out of 10. "It’s twice as fast for me to write the prescription on the ABELMed system as for me to handwrite it. And it’s legible," he says proudly. "Some pharmacists have even called and complimented me on my prescriptions."
Over the last 25 years, Dr. Kumar and his staff have become more proficient with the use of ABELMed’s EMR features.
"Support from ABEL is top notch because they are there when you need them, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," he says. "If anything does need attention, the issue is usually solved the same day. I’m happy that ABEL keeps in touch with me on an ongoing basis and continues to improve its software and add innovative modules, features and functionalities."
Dr. Kumar also appreciates that ABELMed is OntarioMD certified and that ABEL follows an international standard (ISO 13485). "I like knowing that ABELMed has been developed throughout the years with quality management controls and certifications behind it. These attributes help to ensure patient safety and address provider liability."
Dr. Kumar says that he has looked at many EMR solutions over the years but continues to find that ABELMed is not only clearly affordable, it’s also right for him. "Patients appreciate that I use the software because I can access their records in 10 seconds, or transfer files electronically if they are travelling or changing doctors. Even after each follow-up visit, they don’t have to line up for 10 minutes to book their next appointment. I have already booked it myself right on my desktop computer in the examining room, in 30 seconds or less," he says.
Dr. Kumar concludes that, "ABELMed EHR-EMR/PM is an incredible asset that enhances my office management and improves the quality of care that I deliver to individual patients. I look forward to ABELMed’s continued innovation and future enhancements."