Throughout SeriousMD’s first year, we focused on talking with different doctors to better understand why they haven’t adapted a digital set up for their practice. With all the EMR software out there, you’d assume that it would be widely used by now but it’s really not!
After talking to thousands of Filipino doctors while discussing our vision and what we are doing now to contribute to healthcare, we noticed a lot of common myths that tend to stop intrigued doctors from continuing.
These myths usually root from what they’ve heard from fellow doctors or from their own experience with bad software, whether the hospital forces it on them or if they tried to get one on their own.
In this article, I’d like to show you our findings and chances are, you’ll be able to relate to some of them.
8 Myths That Stop You from Being a 21st Century Doctor
This list is not sorted in any way but these are the most common ones based on what we have compiled.
Myth #1 – Concern that they will spend too much of their time doing data entry during consultation or after clinic hours.
If there’s one myth that shows up the most often, it’s this one.
This concern stems from the use of apps that look like old school “accounting software”. Unfortunately, this is the case with a majority of the available apps right now and hospital systems.
So if a lot of EMR software actually does live up to this “myth”, why are we calling it a myth?
Because it doesn’t extend to all EMR programs. There are a number of apps that can actually help reduce data entry time instead of growing it. It depends on you choosing the right one.
For example, systems that put emphasis on workflow and design make integrating current note-taking processes easy. This means you can do it during the actual consultation without taking much of your time and attention away from the patient.
Bottom line? Look for the right software for your practice. It allows you to spend more time with the patient and lets you deal with less paperwork or administrative work.
Myth #2 – Hard to use, set up, and understand. I am not “techy”.
For the most part, software is hard to set up and understand if you’re not too tech-oriented. Sadly, a lot of medical software out there requires a lot of setting up out of the box as they have stopped progressing over time.
A lot of them require you to purchase training services as well, which is why they will not change the design. I’ve personally seen & used many of them and I can honestly say that I just gave up.
But again, don’t assume that means all EHRs are like that. Nowadays, the emphasis on user experience and interface design is growing. Soon, you’ll be able to find more EMRs that require little effort to set up.
In the case of SeriousMD, we even think sometimes that we took too much time with design and user experience. We wanted the app to adapt to how a doctor would want to use it.
If you want to write on it, then you can do it. If you want staff to handle your billing then they can. If you want to take notes on paper but don’t want it eating up space in the clinic, then you can just take a picture of your note and throw it away after.
You don’t have to do what you don’t want to do. Add your notes and be done with it. We want to help you offer better care so the last thing we want is to take time away from your patient.
Myth #3 – I don’t need digital records because I don’t need access to my patient’s data anytime, anywhere!
Not all doctors want to be contacted outside clinic hours so the need for accessing patient data anytime or anywhere isn’t that important.
Or isn’t it? Few remember that they’d need it once they go to their other clinics. Sometimes, patients will visit you in your other clinics, sometimes you just see them and couldn’t say no. Sometimes, your staff are absent and nobody is there to find and pull the records. Sometimes, emergencies take place.
These situations can happen. To many doctors, they happen fairly often. Having your records accessible anytime and anywhere helps you face these situations head on, without relying on staff, getting emotionally affected and there’s no need to hire staff members.
Myth #4 – The way I do things in my clinic is unique. No app can do it like I can.
True, each doctor has their own unique process to run their daily operations but there’s usually a core process of how a practice is ran in the Philippines.
Over the year that we were developing SeriousMD, we went to different doctors to observe their processes and came up with a core process that’s implemented with the app.
It’s why we launched without timeblocks, made sure it can work offline and if it’s online, we made sure it works in real-time with other devices. That way, it adapts to the needs of the practice, no matter where it’s used. Whether you have a staff of 0 or 20, you can make SeriousMD work for you.
Myth #5 – Electronic Records are not secure.
It’s understandable that a lot of people would think this, given the stuff you hear on the news. Hacking stories abound, whether it’s a small Facebook account hack, a larger-scale COMELEC hack or whatever.
First of all, Facebook hacks are usually not hacks at all. It’s usually people neglecting to log out or using other people’s computers with keyloggers. It will always be your responsibility to keep your password safe. As for the COMELEC hack, it was because the site was never secured in the first place. It didn’t take hackers much effort to break into that because it had barely any safeguards in the first place.
A lot of the news you hear about hacking involves cases where the security failure was largely on the part of the user or software itself. Use software with a good array of security measures and practice smart account stewardship and you drastically lower your chances of being a hacking victim. That’s the bottom line.
We even mentioned in an earlier article that there’s research showing more data breaches in traditional paper systems than electronic ones (see the infographic here). As with paper systems, digital systems’ security depends a lot on what you yourself do with them.
If you really want to be secure with your records, stop using unsecured DOC files to keep patient records.
Stop sending out unencrypted text messages regarding patient data.
Don’t use vulnerable devices or ones you share with others.
Don’t use electronic record software that has weak security protocol. You’d be surprised how many companies still use software that doesn’t even encrypt, when that’s about the least you can expect from a secure program.
One other story regarding data security goes something like this:
“I heard a story that my (doctor) friend had their system custom-made then they lost all their data when the HD failed. They couldn’t get hold of their developer.”
We get stories like this almost each day now through email. It’s actually one of the main reasons people are signing up for SeriousMD. With SeriousMD, they have automatic backups to keep their data safe, so that already shows you this sort of data loss isn’t a risk with all EMR systems.
Lastly, SeriousMD Doctors is built and secured with the latest technology. All data is encrypted, accounts have 2-factor authentication and we also have specialized security features based on what device you are using the app on. Again, this disproves the myth that all EHR software is unreliable.
Myth #6 – Expensive to implement (hardware + software) and I’m not sure if I really can use it after I pay for it.
As with any market, there are expensive software (usually enterprise level) and commercial software that’s usually more affordable.
In the local healthcare market, it’s a bit different. Commercial software has been expensive over the years as having one custom-made is a route often taken.
In recent years, there have been changes, from free apps that offer ads and sell your data to cheap apps that are almost impossible to use or that work on just a single device with no ongoing support and updates.
In terms of trying out the software, you practically can’t try it and you are often greeted with a video that’s 5 years old. You have to request a demo or pay upfront to get it implemented.
But yet again, it’s a myth to think this applies to all EHRs.
Take our software as an example. Though using the latest devices will always perform better because of the bump in memory, we built SeriousMD to work with almost any device. Our test devices are often the lowest versions to fully test our capabilities.
And as for testing, SeriousMD gives you a free lifetime account that you can grow in the early stages of your medical career. The more you use the app and the more you invite, the longer you won’t need to upgrade. We want to be accessible to doctors that will be starting their practice soon and we wanted to help them get started.
Myth #7 – It will hurt my relationship and session with the patient.
This myth came from doctors who have computers that are on their left or right side in the consultation room. They have to turn to the computer to type and all the while have to manage some eye contact with the patient.
I totally understand this as I personally saw this issue during my visits to hundreds of clinics. Doctors end up looking at the computer more than the patient.
We released for mobile first because of this issue. Having access to a mobile device with touch capabilities and text shortcuts doesn’t stop you from having a meaningful conversation with your patient. Using portables helps because you can treat it more or less like a regular notepad.
You also have options on how you want to take notes. As mentioned earlier, we have doctors who write on paper and take a picture of the note after their session.
Worth adding here is that with most software out there, doctors end up having to be the ones who input everything. Having the SeriousMD syncing feature that works in real-time helps because you end up just adding notes. Your staff can handle Vitals, scheduling and everything else.
Myth #8 – Digital charts will never change anything. Why bother?
We often talk about our vision. How what we are doing now is something that will help improve healthcare long term and save millions of lives but often, it’s not that easily understood.
“How can saving notes digitally help improve and save lives? It’s nonsense!”
Some physicians view themselves as islands and think that whatever they put in a patient’s records isn’t going to help their patient in the long run when they see other doctors. Even dentists find it hard to believe that what they record can eventually help their patient long term.
It’s not that they don’t care. They care a lot for their patients! They just don’t see how it helps or how it could work.
You know what? We totally understand.
It’s hard to appreciate change when it first arrives. Give it a try, though, and you might be surprised.
We’ve already received messages from SeriousMD users who told us that their records helped save lives recently through trend analysis or easily finding notes from their really old records or seeing results from a patient’s lab results from years back BUT we’re looking at the bigger picture to save even more lives.
It’s why we’re building out the SeriousMD platform and we want to show it to everyone soon.
Through an integrated SeriousMD platform, doctors can offer better care to patients and give better diagnosis. This is where medical technology is headed and what we’re aiming for.
It’s Time That You Go Digital
Given all that, it’s time to get started with digital records for your patients. Everyone is moving that way already: holding out will just slow your practice’s growth instead of helping you move into a solid position for the future.
I’ve already debunked the most common myths against EMRs out there but I’m sure there are a lot more. You probably have some of them right now. The thing is, most of them can still be answered easily.
- Can’t teach old doctors new tricks? We have users who are over 60 years old.
- No time to think of how to integrate with your daily process? We help you with that.
- Don’t have Internet? It works offline.
- I can’t spare downtime just to implement this! You can use SeriousMD with your next patient.
So no matter what your reasons are, just talk to us. We’ll help you out.
Get started by signing up below or schedule a strategy session with us.