When she was attending medical school, Dr. Hiral Lavania wanted to keep an open mind about which medical specialty she would pursue for her life’s work.
“I did all the rotations,” she said, “From internal medicine, to surgery, to OB/GYN and it was here that I had my ‘ah ha’ moment. I realized that I wanted to keep following the babies instead of the moms! From then on, I have been a pediatrician and I love working with kids.”
After 9 years in practice and 2 years as a solo practitioner at her own practice – One Family Pediatric in Cumming, Georgia – Dr. Lavania has learned how challenging the “business of pediatrics” can be. Fortunately, she has made some great decisions, including her choice of the PCC electronic health records (EHR) platform.
One Family Pediatrics
Parental Involvement in the Healthcare of Their Children
“Our overriding philosophy is to educate parents,” Dr. Lavania said. “We want parents to be involved and to take charge in the healthcare of their child. We do this with many educational programs such as parent classes on the weekend.
“We also listen. When parents have questions we take the time to answer them. For example, if they have billing questions, we explain their insurance coverage. It’s surprising how little many parents know about their insurance coverage. From the moment they set foot in our office, they are constantly being educated about one thing or another.”
The Biggest Challenge of Managing a Start-Up Practice: The Insurance Labyrinth
“Overcoming the confusion associated with health insurance has been one of my greatest challenges,” Dr. Lavania said. “When we first opened our practice it consisted of me and my nurse practitioner. Neither of us had a great deal of experience with billing and collections. Both of us could code well, but as far as insurance, we were in the dark most of the time.
“We outsourced the billing to another firm and we had no idea when we would get paid. Every insurance company has a different rule and each pays us a little differently from the others. This made for a steep learning curve for us.”
“The PCC platform helped us overcome this obstacle. It was so easy to use and they spent days with us when we first went on-line with their system. They walked us through the entire process – teaching us how to check-in patients and collect co-pays – things you would never expect an EHR to help you with.”
The Decision to Change EHRs
Dr. Lavania has not always been a PCC client.
“I actually started with another pediatric EHR vendor that claimed to be pediatric friendly.” she said. “As a member of the SOAPM listserv, I noticed that many pediatricians were mentioning PCC. I had the chance to demo the PCC platform at a conference and I loved their attitude on customer support and the fact that they’re very ‘hands on.’
“I also liked the PCC pricing structure. There were not a lot of ‘a la carte’ features. Clients pay one price and get the entire platform and constant customer service. There are not many companies, in any profession, that have this level of customer service.
“I started thinking about changing our software when we were having problems with updates on our existing EHR. Many of my pediatric colleagues were posting on SOAPM about the ease of updates from the PCC platform. Unlike our previous EHR, which made larger updates every few months, PCC does smaller updates more frequently. Since we have been a PCC client, we have found that there are fewer chances for bugs in the system which can lead to computer crashes.”
Dr. Hiral Lavania
The Benefits of a Pediatric Focused EHR
Because of the volume of patients and the wide range of conditions found among children, there is no medical specialty quite as demanding as pediatrics. Dr. Lavania has experienced this first-hand and she has seen the benefits of a pediatric-focused EHR.
“The fact that the PCC platform deals exclusively with pediatrics is one of its great benefits,” she said. “A good example of this involves our evolving standards of care.
“Every few years in our specialty we have an update on Bright Futures which is the protocol that guides us on well checkups and the current standards of care. The PCC platform is constantly being updated to make sure those guidelines are incorporated in their system.
“Whenever we have a Bright Futures update, PCC will tell how we can incorporate these in our EHR. They are much more cutting edge than other EHR vendors on patient centered medical home and meaningful use and they help us understand what kind of data we need to collect. They are just on top of all of these changes!”
The Best Things about PCC
“I love the Dashboard,” Dr. Lavania said. “If you’re going to be a successful business person, the PCC Dashboard is where most of your information is found. It gives you a pulse on your practice by grading you against everyone else in the PCC network.
It helps to have some kind of baseline on how we compare to others in the specialty. PCC even breaks down these comparisons on a geographical basis which gives us additional information on how we are doing.
“There’s one more thing I really like about PCC. Whenever you go to one of their conferences, they always feed you well. You will never go home hungry! They treat you like family.”