Over the past month I’ve been looking at some Electronic Medical Record systems to make my life a bit easier. I don’t have a busy private practice but I can see the benefits of cutting down on paperwork and having access to records from anywhere.
This process of quality improvement probably wouldn’t be happening if I didn’t have my own practice and I can definitely see that although it is a lot more work setting up my own office as compared to working in an institution (I do both) there are certain benefits, and I think the main one is the mentality that it fosters. Looking back I would encourage every psychiatrist to do at least some independent practice because it encourages a sense of responsibility for quality improvement and advancement. Working with patients and other doctors in the community encourages us to be responsive to challenges that the community faces whereas in an institution it is all too easy to leave the work to whoever is in charge of the department.
I can definitely see benefits in how I use office information technology. Working on my own has led me to Internet-based phone systems and voice recognition software to improve efficiency and mobility. Investigating EMRs has taught me a lot about computer hardware and security. I’ve been able to help the family doctor I work with to use more technology in her practice. By being part of a community and taking responsibility for our medical practices, we can help each other a lot – so here’s to going out on your own.