To Create `Paperless' Office, Doctors Started from Scratch: Opened New Office With Software Provided Via Internet

FORT WORTH, Texas, Sept. 17, 2002 -- When two Texas ophthalmologists wanted to open a new practice with a "paperless," fully automated office, they realized they would have to start from scratch using the newest available technology.

Drs. Eric Packwood and Alan Norman opened Pediatric Eye Specialists earlier this year and within a month they were seeing more than 40 patients a day with all of the billing, patient information, scheduling and referrals made electronically.

"My partner and I wanted to take advantage of the many new technologies, but we saw that many medical practices were hesitant to move away from paper forms and filing systems. We wanted to open our own practice and start fresh, but we didn't have a lot of money to buy a costly computer system," said Dr. Eric Packwood.

The doctors were able to get access to the latest technology by using Dallas-based MedSynergies ( ), which provides the technology on a subscription or fee basis, through a broadband Internet connection.

Known as a business services provider or BSP, MedSynergies maintains the latest physician practice software on its own computer network. The technology stores patient records electronically, automatically bills the correct insurance company and instantly updates the doctors' schedule onto their personal Palm handheld computers.

"Because the technology is changing so fast, it doesn't make sense for smaller medical groups to own and operate their own practice management systems. Most physicians want to practice medicine, not be computer technicians. We install the newest systems in their office and provide automatic updates. We can also provide regular financial reports to show how the practice is operating," said John R. Thomas, chief executive officer of MedSynergies.

Thomas said the new technology can actually pay for itself because it will generate new revenues with more accurate billing while reducing staff expenses.

"We are practicing better medicine, because now we have more time with our patients and we're not burdened with a lot of paperwork. We also have quick access to patient medical records and related clinical information," said Dr. Alan Norman.

The health care industry has lagged behind the banking, travel and retail industries in automation. Less than 17% of the physicians in the United States use electronic medical records, according to a Commonwealth Fund study. And the majority of physician billing is still done using paper forms, although the government and health insurers have taken a number of steps to facilitate electronic billing.

SOURCE MedSynergies, Inc.