Editor’s note: Chapel Hill Children and Adolescents’ Clinic, featured in this story, is distinct from their neighboring practice, Chapel Hill Pediatrics in North Carolina.
“I was just telling my office manager: I sleep better at night. I’m a lot happier,” says Dr. Laura Windham. “I feel like we’re on the right track in terms of being able to follow our data and call our patients in. And also financially, it just makes us steadier.”
Dr. Windham is a pediatrician and co-owner of Chapel Hill Children & Adolescents’ Clinic in the city of the same name in North Carolina. When she joined the practice in 2000 out of residency, the clinic was still run on paper. Years later, they ventured into the EHR space with Tiger EHR, and then eventually switched to AllScripts, in hopes that the practice could connect their charts with prescriptions and practice management software for a more seamless experience, but found obstacles in their path.
“I just never had [data, recall, and financial management] information or that if I wanted to get that, I was going to have to tack on some five-year contract to get better analytics,” says Dr. Windham. “And then [AllScripts] would give me the programming, but not the ability to use it. I’d have to figure it out on my own. With their level of support and usability of the system and just not being very pediatric-specific, [we knew we had to leave]. They kept saying, ‘Well, you can adapt, you can do anything you want to,’ but we didn’t know how.”
“I’m a lot happier,” says Dr. Laura Windham of her practice’s switch to PCC EHR. “It just makes us steadier, like we know what we’re doing and that we can adjust.“Dr. Laura Windham
When Dr. Windham and her partner Dr. Michael Minozzi took over from the retiring physician-owner in 2015, they knew that the leap from the role of employed to managing physician would be a challenge, and they also knew they wanted an EHR that would support their new endeavors.
With this goal in mind, Chapel Hill Children & Adolescents’ Clinic began searching for a new EHR, even as multiple contacts and server agreements kept them locked in to AllScripts for longer than they had hoped. Fortunately, Dr. Windham says that when they discovered PCC EHR, they could benefit from other physicians’ experience — by the time they could make the switch, they felt ready to take PCC EHR on with renewed confidence. “There are issues that come up over and over no matter what your location,” Dr. Windham remarks. “And so, the fact that smart people have thought about them? We don’t have to reinvent the wheel — they already have smart templates.”
“I’m a lot happier,” says Dr. Laura Windham of her practice’s switch to PCC EHR. “It just makes us steadier, like we know what we’re doing and that we can adjust.”
She also likes the convenience of the features that PCC provides to pediatricians, like the ability to have two users in a patient chart and the ability to customize her own templates. “I mean, it was disruptive to the flow. So, that was like a very small but real thing that made a big difference, that used to drive us bananas.” Where before you might be kicked out of a chart mid-visit as someone else tried to type up a lab, now the nurse and physicians can tag-team patients and make the entire visit smoother — Dr. Windham can also stylize her charts and templates exactly the way she wants them — “That was very nice, from the clinical side.”
Pediatric practice management also assuages any anxiety Dr. Windham might have about how the clinic is doing. PCC’s Practice Vitals Dashboard helps her see the practice’s improvements and opportunities to improve in real-time. “I looked at [the Dashboard] this morning and that helps give me a little bit of peace of mind. It kind of helps me feel like I’m looking at the things I need to look at. With Allscripts, I always felt like I was kind of floating out there and not knowing what was really going on. And now it’s really nice that I can say, ‘Okay, we are doing more well checks. Where our recall is working and our messaging is working and I need to press on, in this area.’ That has saved a lot of time.”
With an EHR she truly feels she can partner with, Dr. Windham has high hopes for the future of Chapel Hill Children & Adolescents’ Clinic, and she is happy to have PCC support and the community of PCC clients to reply upon. “We’ll try to figure out vaccines like everybody else. Eventually, we’ll kind of take on something bigger. We’re thinking more about CHADIS, continuing to update our website and continuing to learn how to share on social media effectively.”
Overall, she says that to her, managing a practice has meant constantly learning something new. With support from her colleagues and PCC, learning is now no longer a chore, but a chance to get excited at new opportunities. “I’ve learned a tremendous amount in the last five years and I’m very grateful, I’m very happy to be working with PCC now, I really am. It’s like I said — I’m sleeping better at night.”