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Contributing Writer · Mar 12, 2010

Five Question Friday: Interview with a medical student

Today’s Five Question Friday interview is with Anand Popuri, a medical student at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine at the New York Institute of Technology. He shares his perspective on EHR use, and Practice Fusion in particular.

As a preface, tell us a little about yourself. My understanding is that you are a medical student – what kinds of EHR exposure is found in medical school curricula currently?

I’m a 2nd year medical student at New York College of Osteopathic Medicine located on Long Island. I’m 24 years old and I’ve lived in Upstate New York until I decided to go to medical school. Ever since I got into medical school, one of the common themes being told to us is that our class is arriving at a period of change in medicine. Electronic medical records are going to become an integral part of almost all aspects of practicing medicine and students should be ready for that. As a medical student, I’ve already had some exposure to medical records. My medical school runs an academic clinic which is completely ran by an electronic medical record system. I also did an internship during the summer between my 1st and 2nd year where I had to learn how to enter and manipulate an electronic medical record system. It was my first real hands on experience having to work with an electronic chart. To be honest with you, it was a little cumbersome. The workflow wasn’t intuitive and I spent wasted time simply looking at how to enter simple things into a chart. It was a wake up call of sorts. I realized that if I was going to actually use EHRs as a useful tool, I’d have to find one that just made sense. I wanted to find one that was easy to understand, quick to learn, organized and aesthetically pleasing in design and feature. After a lot of search I found Practice Fusion. I haven’t looked back since. I still look around to see what else is out there but I just don’t feel like any other charting system really is organized how Practice Fusion is.

How would you see implementing an EHR in your future practice? Are you thinking solo, or group practice? Any insights into the EHR selection process in practice?

Its kind of cheesy to say but I’m really excited about being able to actually use my own EHR in my future practice. As of now, I’m looking to go into general surgery. I’m great with my hands and I love the intensity, art and beauty of the field. In an ideal situation, I’d like to practice medicine in a small private group setting. As someone who is looking at surgery as a future field, Practice Fusion is a perfect fit for someone who might be traveling a lot. Since the system is not simply based at one site, I would be able to use any computer from all around the country to access my patient’s charts. The security makes me feel safe about my patients’ private information while giving me the freedom to use any computer I choose anywhere I choose.

I think ultimately when a physician chooses an EHR, they are looking for something easy to use, easy to learn, simple, effective, cost-friendly, secure and something that will help them record their notes quicker. Practice Fusion does all of that. You can really tell that Practice Fusion was built with the physician in mind from the ground up. If a physician were to build an EHR with all the features they wanted, Practice Fusion would be it.

What aspects of Practice Fusion do you like?

As a student, I get the unique medical opportunity to see a variety of different EHR programs and how they are used when I rotate to different hospitals in the area. One of the things I have noticed is that some programs seem like they have all the necessary functions, but they just aren’t organized in a usable fashion. You can almost tell that some computing engineer cranked an EHR program without much workflow input from an actual physician. Everything is stuffed into a single window pane and you spend ten minutes just trying to open a chart because it under five different sublinks. I think the single most attractive feature about Practice Fusion is its intuitive nature. Every aspect of this EHR is streamlined towards making things faster for a physician. Who else has an EHR that you can set up in 5 minutes? The moment you sign in, it is very easy to switch from your schedule, patient charts and messages. I love that!

Any things in your “wish list” that would make the product better?

I would like to see Practice Fusion come up with a patient checkin service. There are certain forms a patient must fill out once they get to a physician’s office. I would be interested in seeing if Practice Fusion could create a check-in portal where they sign and fill out their check information at the office. This way, all that information would be automatically integrated into a patient’s file. This would include the patient’s current address, billing information, insurance, allergies, and possibly a quick chief complain prompt. A great example of a phenomenal patient check-in service is Phreesia. This company is well on their to completely getting rid of clipboards in doctor’s offices.

What do you think is the best way to promote Practice Fusion to students and practitioners, from your perspective?

Google is to email as Practice Fusion is to EHRs. I think the best way to promote Practice Fusion is make sure practitioners know that this isn’t just another EHR program. This EHR is radically different from the way most electronic medical record programs look, operate and adapt.
I think a good way to market to students would be to expose them to Practice Fusion early. One way to do this is perhaps to partner with schools around the country and encourage them to start using Practice Fusion to operate their academic healthcare clinics. If a student works with Practice Fusion when they are learning about medicine in school, they are very likely to want to continue using that same health record system in the future

Of course, anything else you’d like to add or change are certainly welcome. Again, thank you for your willingness to “spread the word.”

Thank you for taking the time to send me these questions. Hopefully they are helpful to you.