I have twenty-five years of

by francine Hardaway on May 7, 2003

I have twenty-five years of photocopied medical records in my house. They constitute my medical history, and I keep them in case I have to change physicians. The internal medicine group of which I�ve been a patient for those twenty-five years has several rooms full of records as compendious as mine � the files of all their patients. My late husband, a radiologist, used to rent the basement of his office building simply to house the thirty-five years worth of mammograms and chest x-rays of his patients. He paid rent for space that sometimes didn�t see a human being for days.

Each time a patient makes an appointment, the dutiful staff in a doctor�s office pulls out the patient�s files and puts them in a rack outside the door of the examining room. In a split second before entering the room, where I�ve probably been kept waiting for twenty minutes, the physician glances at the records to remind herself who I am and why I might be there. In the hallway she strives to decipher all the graffiti that has been entered on my chart, at least recently.

Wouldn�t it be nice if she had my record on a monitor in the examining room where she could pull it up on a screen, glance at it in decent light and review it with me? Wouldn�t it be great if she could see an image of my lumbar spine when she needed it? Wouldn�t it be nice if she could write a prescription by pressing a couple of keys and pull-down menus?

She can. She just doesn�t. Small physician practices like hers (four physicians and a PA) could not, until recently, afford electronic medical records (EMR) software. Because everybody thinks physicians are rich, the companies that make EMR systems price them for the Mayo Clinic, not the Main Street Medic. Even the systems that are more affordable are either incomplete or too difficult to train on.

That�s why Roy Frieband, an osteopathic physician from Pennsylvania, decided to get a master�s degree in medical informatics from the Arizona School of Health Sciences and create his own software. He left his practice in the east and took a part time job at a clinic in Casa Grande while he simultaneously went to school, wrote the software, and beta tested it on his colleagues. He built his own web site, too, and created his own demo. Last week, he finally launched it�PatientMinder�. It�s the flagship product of his new company, Mindware Medical LLC;

Trial versions are available for download at http://www.mindwaremedical.com/dl.html. Testimonials from from former computerphobic skeptics who are now converts are at http://www.mindwaremedical.com/pmtest.html

PatientMinder is an EMR developed by a physician for physicians. Written while being used in a busy family practice, it was battle tested under real world conditions and designed from the ground up to be stable, user friendly, and flexible enough to fit into the work flow of a medical office. Patient Minder is geared to the solo and small group office practice, and really shines in that setting. It’s priced to provide an excellent value, and a quick return on investment. It�s not the most beautiful software on earth, but it works. It has a real possibility of ending the mountains of paperwork that clog the reimbursement pipeline and raise the cost of health care.

PatientMinder lets the physician place partially finished charts on hold and finish them later; track phone calls, prescription refills, and other nondirect patient work;easily generate prescriptions, excuses, referrals, and letters; and access patient data from any internet-enabled computer
PatientMinder also has a user-friendly interface; context-sensitive help;smart capitalization and other aids for easy data entry; files for immunization records; smart filtering to see only the information you want; six levels of user access & audit trails to aid HIPAA compliance; a reminder system; one click chart summaries ; and a variety of financial reports and practice data reports.
Why do you need to know this?
Because PatientMinder was not developed by a company that got three rounds of financing, hired a development team, a visual identity manager, a marketing specialist, and a senior management team. It was developed by one man, writing his own software, financing it out of his pocket. Roy soldiered on before, during, and after the Internet boom, creating and testing his product practically unassisted.
And now it�s on the market, and the doctors will vote with their feet, their mice, their pocketbooks.
Whatever happens to this product, Roy Frieband, D.O. will have the satisfaction of knowing that he has been a true entrepreneur.

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