Continuing our series of interviews with physicians on the front lines of implementing healthcare technology, today we catch up with Michael Paul Gimness, MD, a family physician with the Family Medical Specialists of Florida in Plant City, Florida. As a small practice physician, he is using technology to improve his patient care experience as well as streamline his workflow efficiency. Here he talks about the impact of ever-evolving medical technology on his practice.
Intel: How does technology influence your practice?
Gimness: Technology influences my practice on many levels, but perhaps the most important aspect is the 24/7 access that my patients have to their personal medical records. A large portion of my practice cares for elderly patients; electronic medical records help keep them safe in times of emergency, and knowledgeable in times of question, such as a “what medicines are you currently taking?” situation. Synced to my EMR, CareSync’s physician portal provides this critical information digitally anywhere, anytime for a patient and their providers. I continue to encourage patients to be proactive in their own health, and it’s very heartwarming to me. I’ve had great success providing these records electronically so patients can have better care in times where delayed physical/paper records could be detrimental.
Intel: How does technology affect or change your workflow?
Gimness: The changes implemented over the last few years have certainly improved patient care. My patients receive a printout every time they leave the office; I have kiosks for patient check-in, which helps with office automation; my portal syncs directly to my EMR so it really helps coordinate patient care efficiently – all of their information is right at my fingertips. While there is work involved with filling out the electronic records, compared to circling options on paper, efficiency is up significantly. With all of these factors, I can improve workflow and spend more facetime with patients.
Intel: What technology could you not live/work without and how are policies changing to keep information on those devices secure?
Gimness: My smartphone is on me at all times. The Epocrates app constantly provides me with patient data updates, such as lab orders. Additionally, I use my computer every day with my patients. Without these devices, I would be lost in a world where all information is digital. As far as policy changes, all of the guidelines consistently being developed are helpful in keeping patients’ medical records accessible in a secure environment. We are working diligently to keep their records safe, yet available at a moment’s notice.
Intel: With patients having access to their health records, do they own their own health responsibilities?
Gimness: Yes, absolutely. A variety of apps provide patients with up-to-date information, which they are very quick to check and ensure everything is correct. With CareSync, I often have patients coming in and asking if I’ve read their files immediately after greeting them. With this technology, I can quickly respond and tell them I’ve read everything and know exactly what needs to be accomplished during their visit.
Intel: What keeps you up at night when thinking about the affect technology has on your practice?
Gimness: We consistently receive information about our patients from multiple sources. Everything in my practice is electronic so the system is automatically updated and provides information at all hours. The system doesn’t shut down at 5 p.m. – although my office is closed for the day, I’m reviewing information as it comes in and following up with my patients accordingly. Private practice medical care is truly a 24/7 service today. We work hard to ensure our patients are cared for and have access to a physician as openly as possible. With the tools and technology available, this is made possible.