MGMA 2011 – Amazing Charts, Jonathan Bertman, MD, FAAFP

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Howard Rollins MD, Health Care Consultant for EHR Scope, speaking with Jonathan Bertman MD, FAAFP, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Amazing Charts.

Category: Featured, MGMA 2011
Date: December 6, 2011
Views:13,997 views

Dr. Howard Rollins: This is Dr. Howard Rollins with EHRTV. I am at the MGMA 2011 with Dr. Jon Bertman, a family physician, who has developed Amazing Charts.

Hi Jon! Nice to be with you.

Dr. Jonathan Bertman: Hi, hi! You too.

Dr. Howard Rollins: I think the best way to start is to ask you – I am intrigued that as a physician you were compelled to develop Amazing Charts. Tell me a little about the story.

Dr. Jonathan Bertman: Yeah. I was seeing patients, I had started my own practice, I had used an EHR in my old practice which was really un-wieldy and decided I wanted my own and I went out and I went up to all these different vendors at shows quite like this and said “Okay, show me how quickly you can document a follow-up hypertension visit?” and people would get flustered and it would literally be 20, 30, 40 clicks to get anything documented. So, I realized I am not buying anything that’s out there, not to mention the price was ludicrous and I thought “Let me write my own” – I was always a computer geek – “let me write my own, put it online, and if people like it, it will help supplement my income as a starving family physician and I did that and it has really taken on.

Dr. Howard Rollins: How long ago was that?

Dr. Jonathan Bertman: That’s 2001. So, now we are up to about 5000 practices, growing by about 70 new practices every month and I sell this software the way that I would want to buy software which is free to try, free to use, if you like it buy it, if you don’t like it throw it out and then if you do like it, charge a reasonable amount of money. We charge $1,995 per provider. That includes really everything – e-prescribing, maintenance, support, ICD-10 upgrades, everything.

Dr. Howard Rollins: I notice that we are here in Las Vegas and we are surrounded by many large corporations with corporate backing and yet you managed to succeed and to grow and to receive numerous accolades for Amazing Charts. How do you explain that? What’s the distinguishing features that make you special?

Dr. Jonathan Bertman: Actually the distinguishing features are our clientele. They are clinicians. Clinicians aren’t stupid. So, if you try and sell a physician something that costs more than their car and means they can’t health insurance for their staff, they are going to say no. So, all you have to do is provide something that is easy to use and affordable and they just come to us and it’s really the program literally sells itself because we are not trying to gouge my colleagues and we are just trying to offer them something that works for me and my office and for other small practices. We also, I guess a corollary to that, we focus more on small practices.

Dr. Howard Rollins: So, what size practice do you…?

Dr. Jonathan Bertman: 1 to 5, 1 to 10 docs. We don’t go after hospitals. We don’t go after large groups where many of the large EHR companies have focused their dollars because there is a bigger bang for the buck up there but for us, we want one solo docs, 1-5-provider practices.

Dr. Howard Rollins: Are you ready for ICD-10?

Dr. Jonathan Bertman: We are. We are of course preparing as everyone else is. The clearing houses that we partner with already will do the transition data changeover until our ICD 5010 build actually comes out which is due out in quarter 1 of 2011.

Dr. Howard Rollins: Okay. And how are you addressing Protective Health Information?

Dr. Jonathan Bertman: We take PHI very seriously. So, whereas many EHR companies today are making their money by selling this data to pharma and to others, we flatly refuse to do that and we feel that PHI really is the privacy can’t be understated. More things are moving to the cloud. There is question about really what’s going to be out there in terms of one’s data. Personally, I don’t want anyone to know that if I had hemorrhoids that it was out in the world but that’s what will happen soon, I know it’s happening.

Dr. Howard Rollins: Besides the size of the practice, are there specific specialties that you are looking at – like you are a family physician, is this really built for a family physician?

Dr. Jonathan Bertman: Yeah, this is really built for family physician, literally for my practice and then as I added a mid-level provider, we of course added all the stuff so you could co-sign notes and write comments back to them that aren’t part of the medical record; but what’s really surprised me is although it was designed for that, we have 20% of our practices are specialty practices, we have subspecialty practices, really we all were trained the same way – SOAP notes, how to document – this software just allows you to practice the way we were trained in residency in med school. You don’t have to learn how to re-document a note based on how an EHR vendor feels it should.

Dr. Howard Rollins: Well, I took a look at Amazing Charts before this interview and I was very, very impressed.

Dr. Jonathan Bertman: Thank you.

Dr. Howard Rollins: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about it?

Dr. Jonathan Bertman: You know, I am really proud of Amazing Charts. I think we have a an online bulletin board where our users post whatever comments that are completely uncensored and you will get negative comments and positive, but I feel that that really has kept us focused on what we need to do which is usability and affordability, that’s really the focus; and as long as I think we stay true to those concepts, we will continue to take over this market.

Dr. Howard Rollins: I am sure you will and I have one more question and it’s perfect for you as a physician – how is the patient impacted and how is care improved specifically to the individual patient when the doctor uses Amazing Charts?

Dr. Jonathan Bertman: Yeah, that’s a fascinating question. I think we can ask anecdotally our own practices, we can even survey. I mean, they feel that in general their patients like it. The studies that are out there so far, the jury is still out both on whether or not it really can improve outcome of care and whether or not it’s some sort of barrier between doctor and patient and I think we need more larger studies to really evaluate that. I know that with Amazing Charts we allow clients really to document in their own voice. I am a strong believer of the note really telling a story as opposed to just some templated piece of nonsense that’s being used to collect billing money. So, with Amazing Charts you really can have the story in the note.

Dr. Howard Rollins: Does it interface with speech recognition such as Dragon and do you recommend that?

Dr. Jonathan Bertman: I type, so for me, I never needed to do it but for a majority of our physicians who do not type, Dragon is great. It integrates seamlessly with Amazing Charts. We have actually put some time and development resources in allowing you to verbally command your mouse and your navigation through the screen using Dragon; and I think for anyone who is not comfortable with typing, Dragon is a godsend and really works well, it’s amazing.

Dr. Howard Rollins: Yeah. Well, thank you very much. It was a pleasure to meet you. We wish you the best of luck. I think you have a great product.

Dr. Jonathan Bertman: Thanks.

Dr. Howard Rollins: This is Dr. Howard Rollins with EHRTV and Dr. Jon Bertman at the MGMA Las Vegas, 2011. Thank you.

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