Doctor used FileMaker to create new EHR system

Posted by Justin Hesser on May 28, 2014

There are many examples of how the latest software solutions have changed the way traditional sectors operate. Health care, for example, has experienced a number of different booms when various systems have risen to prominence. Currently, the use of electronic healthcare records (EHR) has been the main topic of conversation.

Hospitals and medical facilities are converting their paper records into a digital format. They can then be accessed through a computer and mobile devices, making it much simpler to keep files organized and updated in real-time. It also becomes easier for accurate versions of records to be sent to other facilities if needed.

While these platforms are spreading across the healthcare landscape, it does not work for every medical professional. A recent article from InformationWeek featured an interview with Dr. Lloyd Hey. The founder of the Hey Clinic for for Scoliosis and Spine Surgery, he used and was dissatisfied with EHR systems. However, instead of just complaining about it, he actually replaced it with his own version that brings process and quality control to healthcare.

Using FileMaker, his goal was to maximize care, minimize errors and continually improve processes and avoid the bottlenecks that current systems are creating.

"The problem was that [the EHR] system wasn't really built for a surgeon. It was built more for a primary care physician," Dr. Hey said. "And the [vendor's] programmers weren't really willing to improve it, and it didn't interface well with my practice management system. We had these silos of information that didn't talk to each other well."

Current EHR systems are broken into different modules for different tasks. This means it can be time consuming for a practice that performs hundreds of surgeries a month to fill out the different modules like schedule, clinic and appointment.

According to Dr. Hey, despite the number of systems that are on the market, none of them were able to streamline these modules and work specifically for his kind of practice. EHR systems do not take care of the whole workflow like consent forms and operating room bookings. Since he has a background in programming, he decided to tweak and have all those modules work together in a single solution.

With the help of a FileMaker developer, he started gathering input from everyone who used the software from the head of billing to nurses. This meant the entire office was part of the creative process and tweaking could happen on a daily or weekly basis.

"We have to have an adaptable system because, not only are we learning new things we have to change, but new things are being forced on us. You're always going to have to deal with change, so we need systems that can rapidly evolve and change with us," Dr. Hey said.

Now, patient information only needs to be entered once and any doctor can pull up and review the data, add critical information and view images on his computer in the office or his iPhone while in the operating room.

This shows what is possible when a company or individual with an idea decides to create a custom FileMaker solution.