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Two years of running my private practice has taught me a great deal, such as “paperless” is a fantasy.
So it’s been about two years since I’ve opened my practice. It’s been about four years since I started seriously studying and analyzing and planning for it. And while I am fairly confident that I did a lot right from the get-go, there are also things I’ve learned along the way.
For example, “paperless” is a fantasy. I had these visions of not needing much paper, toner, or filing space because I was going to have a “paperless” office. Well, we definitely need less than the typical paper-chart-based office, but papers still come through every day. Patients bring papers. They mail papers. Insurance companies, pharmacies, and other doctors’ offices mail papers. Fortunately, we are set up to receive faxes electronically, so the hundreds of faxes never see paper. We still have to print charts or records for insurance companies when we need to appeal, or when the patient needs it for life insurance or something. And regarding “meaningful use?” Heck, we started printing more stuff ever since we started getting ready for attestation; visit summaries and patient education, for example.
I also realize now that I really do need an office. I foolishly thought that I wouldn’t, that I would go from exam room to exam room with my tablet and my phone and that I wouldn’t need to sit at a desk and do stuff. Well, because of all the paper, the phone calls, and the business of medicine, I do need a place where I can sit and work on things.
I have also discovered that although delegation is a difficult thing for me to master, the people around me expect me to do so. I am still in the process of letting tasks go and accepting that others are just as capable as I am at doing them.
I am sure that as I continue on this journey that I will continue to learn. Especially since the way we practice medicine continues to change.
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