Physician Lifestyle Profile: Dr. Michael Haghighi
Dr. Michael Haghighi of Haghighi Family and Sports Medicine in Jacksonville, Florida has been an Aprima customer since 2007. We interviewed him to find out the impact of EHR on his lifestyle and practice.
Q: What is the focus of your practice and how many patients do you see?
A: Haghighi Family and Sports Medicine is mainly a Primary Care office. We see between 30-50 patients each day.
Q: What is your training?
A: I completed my undergraduate degree in Biology pre-med at the University of South Carolina, and then finished my Family Practice Residency at Louisiana State University as a chief resident. Following my residency, I did a fellowship in Sports Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.
Q: When did you begin using Aprima?
A: We started looking at EHR systems in 2006, and then we began using Aprima when we opened our practice in 2007.
Q: What led you to select an EHR prior to opening your practice?
A: I had experienced the advantages of computerized patient records during my Mayo Clinic fellowship, as well as the chaos of paper charts while part of a group practice, so I knew I wanted to use an EHR right from the beginning.
Q: Why did you choose Aprima EHR/PM?
A: After side-by-side comparisons with other EHR systems, we chose Aprima EHR/PM for our practice because it’s so easy to use and intuitive. We appreciate the efficiency of Aprima, and the ability to make changes on the fly. It’s helped me be able to work the way I want to work.
Q: What would you say is your work ethos?
A: Life can’t only be work, work, work. I see my colleagues burning out whether they’re near retirement age or they’ve only been practicing for 5 to 10 years. The older the colleague, the more burned out they are. I believe it’s due to all of the regulatory burdens physicians have to deal with.
Q: What helps keep you from burning out at work?
A: Being able to do everything electronically with Aprima EHR saves us a lot of time compared to following the old, manual processes. Having the right automations is critical. If I had to go home and work until 7pm or 8pm every night, I couldn’t do it.
Working Fewer Hours without Decreasing Productivity
Q: Which specific features of Aprima EHR/PM help you save the most time?
A: Charting, Automation, and Patient Self Service stand out in particular.
Q: What do you like about charting with Aprima?
A: Aprima’s chief complaint-driven algorithm gives me the speed, flexibility and level of detail needed to properly chart a note. In most instances, I can complete my notes while in front of the patient. With the amount of patients I see, I would not be able to complete my charting in the same day otherwise.
Q: How important is point-of-contact charting for you?
A: It’s very important to me. If you leave notes incomplete, they add up very quickly and before you know it, there’s an unmanageable stack of incomplete notes that you may never catch up on.
Q: Does Aprima allow you to include a robust representation of the patient’s visit in your notes?
A: Well, I’m a perfectionist who believes that you can never include too much information. But I feel confident that even though I’m finishing my notes quickly, my notes are still complete enough to stand up to scrutiny from payors and, more importantly, my colleagues who receive referral information from me.
Q: Moving on to Aprima’s automation tools, how do they help you save time?
A: Our office Manager, Katie Gofman, likes that automation makes the system work for you instead of you working for it. She took the initiative to figure out how to leverage Aprima’s automation capabilities for us. For example, she implemented custom panels to capture bonuses from insurance companies, as well as customized Diagnosis and Services Provided panels to maximize revenue capture.
Q: Do you use automated health maintenance reminders?
A: Yes, Katie set up health maintenance reminders through Aprima that are customized for our patient population. These reminders are important because they automatically let our patients know when they’re due for annual screenings and services.
Q: Are these automated tools helping your practice save money?
A: They do but as Katie says, “Automation is great for improving the financial health of the practice but ultimately you’re improving your patient’s health, which is the goal.”
Q: How is the Patient Portal working for you?
A: Having patients use the patient portal is important to the flow of the practice. Because the self-serve portal is so easy, many patients use it to communicate with our practice, request refills, and request appointments.
Q: Is it difficult to get patients to start using the portal?
A: No, onboarding is simple. New patients receive a link to the portal and because they are curious, they login and then they like what they see.
Q: What other types of modifications did you make to your Aprima EHR?
A: Katie customized the “list editor” portion of Aprima EHR specifically for our practice, which we really appreciate. Because of this, Aprima is setup according to our preferences and workflow.
Q: What are some other ways you’re achieving efficiencies?
A: In the exam room, our Welch-Allyn vital monitors, a Midmark ECG and spirometers and labs interface directly with Aprima. This not only saves us time, but, more importantly, eliminates data-entry errors. I’m doing more with the Aprima EHR than I did at the Mayo Clinic.
Q: How late do you stay at your practice?
A: I leave the office no later than 4:30 or 5:00 pm each day. But if I ever need to access information when I’m away, I use the Aprima Mobile app. This gives me the ability to always feel connected to the practice and also catch up from outside the office, which is a big advantage for me. Also, I like that my admin has “anytime, anyplace” access too.
Life Outside the Practice
Q: You’re saving a lot of time at the office. How are you using these extra hours?
A: I have two school age children who play soccer, so I take them to practice on weeknights and go to their games on the weekends. During the week, I like to go out to dinner with my wife, who is also a physician in the practice. It’s important to me that I don’t feel rushed when I’m trying to leave the office to spend time with my family.
Q: What other types of activities do you find time to pursue?
A: I like going to Jacksonville Jaguars games, visiting the beach, running, and volunteering in my community.
Q: What kind of volunteer work do you do?
A: On the weekends I volunteer as the sideline doctor for two sports teams – the Jacksonville Armada, which is a semi-pro NASL soccer team and the Jacksonville Sharks arena football team. I take care of any sports injuries on the sideline, such as ankles, knees, lacerations, etc.