Face time with patients increases while EHR prompts timely care and data clarity

Dr. Weidmann graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, College of Engineering and then earned his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1985. He joined South Austin Medical Clinic in 1989 and is a Diplomat of the American Board of Family Practice. He is recognized as a “hands on leader” in the application of technology and data systems to patient care and medical practice. His community and personal life orbits around his fabulous wife and two incredible daughters. He has participated in numerous sports but currently has a particular fondness for cycling and swimming.

South Austin Medical Clinic (SAMC)
SAMC is a nine physician family medicine practice located in Austin, Texas. The practice provides comprehensive care with lab, radiology and acute care hours on evenings and weekends.
Challenges and Solutions 
1.    Despite a long and successful history, the SAMC practice, operating since 1965, found itself struggling with the inefficiencies of the paper chart and a challenging reimbursement and regulatory environment. Loose-leaf paper charts were time consuming to manage and difficult to keep organized, and took up a tremendous amount of space. Dr. Weidmann recalls that SAMC had a room the size of a two car garage just to store charts. 

2.    As payers shifted away from capitation to discounted fee-for-service and toward outcomes / value based systems, accurate visit documentation, data analysis, real time decision support and proactive care became essential. SAMC was under coding and under billing, overwhelmed and fearful of expanding services and scope.
SAMC decided to make the switch to electronic medical records (EMR) in February, 2002.  By early 2005 SAMC saw the glory of electronic health record (EHR) data organization producing clinical prompts, clear care flow sheets, quick chart review, business efficiencies and enhanced medical group unity. Dr. Weidmann reports that SAMC now has a far stronger group practice with the same “patient face time” that they all enjoy.