Case Study: Medical Provider / Clinic Scheduling and Medical Records By Will Pepper, Ph.D.
Warning: This information has no personality
A small Medical Provider (“MP”) in the MidSouth was contacted by the Coordinator of Better Than Free, LLC (“BTF”) to evaluate their current technology. Initially the review was to be of a medical tracking system that sends updates about pharmaceuticals and orders medicine through the Patient Assistance Program. However, over the course of the two-hour session with the top two representatives of the organization, that piece of software passed the technology audit and other opportunities presented themselves.
The clinic sees around 130 patients a month and the cost per patient varies, from a doctor’s time on a simple cold to over $8,000 in x-rays, prescriptions, and treatment. The current total software expenses for the MP are around $1,800 annually, which includes the annual subscription for medical tracking system ($1,500), one anti-virus software subscription ($50), and QuickBooks ($250). One of the two computer systems did not possess an anti-virus system, so a free version was downloaded and installed. Interestingly, there was no clinic electronic health record (“EHR”) or appointment scheduling software in use. A single Excel spreadsheet had met this need. From this, several EHR and scheduling software packages were reviewed, ultimately producing two options that would be free to this size of organization. Also, a manual removal of malware (spyware) by BTF resulted in one system running “three times faster.”
BTF believes that since the organization has such a limited operational budget, potential donations of software and hardware are available and are currently being pursued. Also, due to their location, slow Internet connection exists. Therefore, any software installed must be independent of consistent bandwidth. Various EHR software subscription prices range from $500 a month to over $3,000 a month. Currently sampling a stand alone EHR, the MP system now uses a free software system, saving (on the low-end of the spectrum) over $6,000 a year. Additionally, a review of the mailing system that is used to send out 700 pieces of postage a month found a savings of 56% from the previous year, therefore saving the MP an additional $2,300 a year.
In conclusion, while this case study is still pending final results, the savings for this MP from free/donated software usage and other analysis comes to over $8,300 annually.