South Tampa Medical (STM) has been serving the community for over 15 years, providing internal medicine and general primary care including cardiac testing, ultrasounds, nerve conduction studies, diabetic classes pulmonary function testing, and glaucoma testing.
Before implementing Aprima, STM had merged with another practice and was managing 3 different EMRs running concurrently plus paper. This meant some patient data was in one system, some was in another. Since none of them could meet all their needs, they still had thousands of charts on paper. They were doing paper billing, charting in one system, and looking up patient information in yet another system. Yet none of these systems met their needs.
When looking for a new EHR, their goal was to identify a system that could give them all the functionality they required in a single solution. Practice Administrator and Partner Francisco Amanti, MBA, had the providers use various systems to determine which one was the best fit for their practice. Usability was their main criteria. After testing several different systems, comparing the ease of use of one against another and against paper charts, they selected Aprima because it was the easiest for everyone to use.
Implementing one system and integrating data from so many legacy systems was not so easy. “We were a difficult case,” says Amanti, and the DAS team “went above and beyond what we ever would have expected. They did whatever they had to do to make it work,”
When testing various EHR systems, they found most systems only allowed them to pick one chief complaint, which did not accommodate their average patient having 3 complaints. “Aprima allows us to document more than one chief complaint,” says Kristin Jefferies Smith, MS, FNP, BC. In their old system, Smith would have to create 3 different notes, one for each complaint; with Aprima, they can all be documented in the same note.
Dr. Bunker-Huertas just started using the system 4 months ago when he joined STM. He had been exposed to EHR systems previously in the hospital, but this is the first time he’s used it in the office. “When I started they told me this was the type of system that would learn with you. Whenever I would start with a patient, setting up for the chief complaint, all I had to do was point and click and it led me through it. It was organized the way you’d expect a chart to be organized,” recalls Dr. Bunker-Huertas. Once he identified his most common test orders, Dr. Bunker-Huertas was further able to organize the information layout for the way he likes to chart his patients.
As members of the STM staff find new ways they can use Aprima, they are able to easily share information amongst themselves. For example, if Kristin develops a physical exam Dr. Bunker-Huertas likes, he can easily access and use it, or if Dr. Mennen develops a new patient instruction he can easily share it. “It’s that simple,” says Dr. Bunker-Huertas, “We can get together and create something for the whole group, or something for each person.”
The Medication History Download is another valuable feature for STM because it allows them to see past medications a patient has had prescribed, even from other doctors, as well as where and when they were filled. “A lot of our population is geriatric – we have situations all the time where Grandma can’t remember her prescriptions and her daughter doesn’t know. We no longer have to deal with that. We just look it up and everything is right there in the patient record,” says Amanti.
South Tampa Medical was converted to Aprima from Greenway EMR and Practice Management.