Ten years ago, Ricardo Ortega, MD, was practicing as a clinic physician but really wanted to try solo practice. Today, he’s a fully-mobile independent physician with a solo geriatric home care practice in Albuquerque, NM. His practice is himself, a computer and a third-party billing service. He has no separate office and no staff. He maintains a home office and one on the road as he travels between patient visits.
In order to make the transition as seamless as possible, he began researching technology options that would allow him to continue practicing medicine in a cost-effective manner. Paper charting wasn’t practical for his new office arrangement. After initially trying another EHR that proved to have a steep, time-intensive learning curve, Dr. Ortega opted to use Amazing Charts with Updox as his solution for integrated faxing and patient portal.
“Now, I’m about 99% paperless, thanks to Updox,” says Dr. Ortega. “The ability to file directly to the patient chart is wonderful. No matter where I am – at home, with a patient or on the road between calls – I can respond to messages, review and send faxes and file documents to the chart without a single piece of paper.” The only paper Dr. Ortega uses are for certain government-mandated documents that require a physical signature. “I have no costs for paper, toner or fax machines. Updox has exceeded my expectations and allows me to focus on my practice and my patients, without those overhead costs.”
Another benefit that Dr. Ortega sees with Updox is an additional level of communication security. Emails and faxes are never deleted with Updox and there’s no paper to lose. Updox offers a secure “paperless paper trail” and each chart has a record of any and all communications, whether from POAs, guardians, family, caregivers, facility management, etc.
“With Updox, the patient chart shows a contemporaneous record of relevant communication. Also, when I’m communicating with nurses, providers or facility management regarding a patient, those messages can be easily forwarded to Updox,” says Dr. Ortega. “It can also be used for photos or other attached items.” It’s imperative that those messages and items sent to a regular email account do not contain any protected health information.
Dr. Ortega feels that Updox offers outstanding support to independent physicians. “Updox makes it more feasible for micro patient-centered practices to survive and thrive in today’s healthcare system. It lets you be competitive and run your practice efficiently with minimal or no additional staff.”
Dr. Ortega acknowledges the fear some physicians have about going solo and moving into an independent practice. “It can be overwhelming to give up the safety net of a group practice,” he says. “I’ve put out a standing offer to mentor doctors who want to pursue an independent practice. I’m available to show them how I use my EHR and Updox to make my work efficient and affordable. Contact me and I’m happy to share what I’ve learned.”
“Honestly, Updox is cheap and efficient. It has zero learning curve. The service is as great as you can get and the benefits are outstanding,” says Dr. Ortega. “I’d tell any independent doctor – simplify your life with Updox and you won’t look back.”
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