Dr. Agnes Schlanger in Toronto, Ontario
Starting a new practice from scratch has its advantages, especially when you have the chance to begin with the latest technologies and capabilities, such as an EMR system. Dr. Agnes Schlanger, a general and family practice physician in the Kingsway neighbourhood of Toronto, knew from the start that she would need an EMR to manage the clinical and administrative aspects of her new practice.
Dr. Schlanger established her practice in 2003 and started to use ABELMed right from the very beginning. Today, with a patient load of more than 9,000, she treats a broad range of ailments including common chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Her specialty, though, is hormone replacement therapy, which comprises about half of her practice. Each month, she sees more than 640 patients, who typically range from 35 to 65 years of age.
In setting up her new practice, one of Dr. Schlanger’s first tasks was to look for an EMR and practice management system that would fit the unique way that she wanted to work and her plans for practice expansion.
"Being a sole practitioner, with only one receptionist, I knew I would be faced with the challenge of managing both the clinical and administrative sides daily as I added new patients to my case load," says the doctor. "As I was starting from zero--zero files, zero patients--this was the perfect opportunity to implement an EMR."
Dr. Schlanger’s objective was to find an easy to use, affordable EMR solution that would fulfill specific needs of her practice. "I knew that I could not operate without one," she adds. "To run a successful office, I had to be organized and efficient, streamlining all aspects of the practice through an EMR."
Because of her specialty, Dr. Schlanger also understood that she would be seeing patients from different parts of Ontario. This challenged her to find a system that would provide seamless electronic communication with referring practitioners, regardless of their location.
Dr. Schlanger was evaluating several EMRs including ABELMed, but one extraordinary event made her choose ABELMed over other systems. "In early January 2003," she recalls, "I noticed a few advertisements for EMR providers in one of my medical journals. I contacted each of them and set aside an entire day to see them for a complete demonstration of their software. On our scheduled day, Toronto had a huge snow storm. The only representative to brave the foul weather and to show up for our appointment was from ABEL. I was so impressed with ABEL’s commitment to customer sales and ABELMed’s unique capabilities that the company immediately got my business."
"I really liked ABELMed from the beginning because of its workflow design, customization ability and practice management capabilities," says Dr. Schlanger. "I wasn’t really that computer literate back then, so I needed a solution that was easy to use with a full range of features and excellent customer support."
Today, Dr. Schlanger uses all aspects of the software, including the customizable templates for patient encounter notes plus the billing, scheduling, laboratory tests requisition and prescription features.
Dr. Schlanger says that she has totally embraced ABELMed EMR. "There was a learning period during the early days, but because the software is so intuitive and easy to use, the initial training was very short. That’s all I really needed to get me up and running quickly," she says. "Using the system every day is where you really learn about its unique features and benefits. I’m always excited to discover new ways to become more efficient using ABELMed."
Even today, Dr. Schlanger says she has lots of questions on how to maximize her investment in the software. "ABEL’s support staff and customer service is fantastic. I know that if I ever need help, I can count on them to respond quickly. They understand that any downtime is inefficient, especially in the running of a medical practice of this size."
Dr. Schlanger envisions continued innovation with the software and looks forward to how ABELMed’s EHR-EMR/PM system will grow to help her to manage her expanding practice.
"I don’t even remember how I managed using paper-based files, years ago in my previous practices," adds the doctor. "Using an EMR keeps me more organized and files don’t get lost or misplaced. Because everything comes in electronically, the files are much easier to access. Even my patients are impressed that their blood test results appear almost magically on my computer screen in the examination room."
Dr. Schlanger says that she still receives hard copy faxes and documents in the mail from other physicians. These papers then have to be scanned into ABELMed, making the document management process less efficient. Her goal is to have a paperless office soon and she hopes that other practitioners will follow suit. "Once everyone goes to an EMR such as ABELMed and stops using and sending paper, the whole health care system will become much more efficient for everyone: doctors, other practitioners, and patients alike."
Dr. Schlanger is very happy she chose ABELMed on that snowy day in 2003 and says, "As far as I am concerned, it’s the first and the last EMR that I will ever need."
Upon leaving her General and Family practice, effective November 2015, Dr. Schlanger sent us this farewell comment:
"I was always very happy with ABEL’s customer service that's why I recommended ABELMed to others. The programs are probably very similar with small differences but what makes it or breaks it is customer service."
The team at ABEL sincerely wish Dr. Schlanger a wonderful new journey filled with health and happiness!