Vatsal G. Thakkar, M.D. is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine, and Director of the GME (Graduate Medical Education) Wellness Team at NYU. He runs a private practice, Solstice Psychiatric Consulting, in New York. Dr. Thakkar’s medical specialties include attention deficit disorder, psychopharmacology, and affective and anxiety disorders. His medical interests include adult ADHD, treatment-refractory depression, occupational and workplace psychiatry, and physician wellness.
Interacting with Practice Fusion:
"I use Practice Fusion all the time. That and Outlook are open on my PC all the time. I use Practice Fusion for appointments, internal messaging, and all charting of visits, emails and phone calls. Because charting has become so easy with Practice Fusion, I'm actually doing more of it, like pasting in emails or phone messages."
Improvements from using Practice Fusion:
"I would say more thorough and efficient charting. I have 3 physical office locations through the week so having paper charts would not only be a mess, it would hamper patient care by not having 24/7 remote access. In addition, I have suffered from carpal tunnel in the past from all the writing I have to do as a physician. So Practice Fusion has helped that as well."
Selecting and implementing Practice Fusion:
"I had read about Practice Fusion since it's inception in 2007 and got on the wait list. I was intrigued by the business model. I was opening a private practice and needed an EMR but Practice Fusion was closed to individual practices. I actually enrolled for a different system (SaaS) that was very inexpensive. But that other system was very clunky and difficult to use. My notes weren't getting done. So when Practice Fusion opened up for everyone, I signed up for a demo and have been using it ever since--January 2008. What I loved about it was that it was very simple and very fast."
Technology recommendations for other physicians:
"I recommended physicians become as wired as they are comfortable with. The next best thing in my opinion after an EMR is an encrypted email system. I have physicians tell me they don't want to let patients email them but I see it as a win-win. You have to set parameters with patients but in today's world you cannot afford to refuse email communications. I personally hate having to play phone tag with patients just to communicate a simple, silly little thing. With encrypted email, I fire off a HIPAA-compliant secure message that only the patient can open with a password. I can even send attachments and patients can reply securely."
Next steps for healthcare technology:
"I see the future of healthcare becoming much better in 2 ways, exponentially. I see devices becoming more intuitive for on-the-job data entry--moving from workstations with keyboards to ultrathin tablets or e-ink clipboards with handwriting recognition. Second, I see HIT developing smart-ware for boosting quality. Treatment guidelines, disease protocols, and drug interactions will be smartly (and unobtrusively) built into the software for optimizing patient care."