Sleep specialist: Market Web tech, not doughnuts

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

HOUSTON - Health Management Services (HMS), a company that specializes in treating sleeping disorders, has begun to move chart notes for its 35,000 patients onto the Internet where referral sources such as doctors and sleep labs can review them.

“This allows the referral source to see what we are really doing,” said John Goodman, president of HMS. “It’s not just some pretty sales girl walking in with doughnuts. This is documented service.”

HMS clinicians started scanning and uploading notes from patient interactions in October of last year. While the notes do include the hard, downloadable data from CPAP units that monitor compliance, much of the data is subjective.

“It’s what the patient says, and what the clinician says,” said Goodman. “It may or may not be what’s really going on.”

Among physicians, Goodman breaks their reception of the service into three camps: those who love it, those who’d like to review the notes but don’t have time, and those who could care less.

If a physician reviews a patient’s HMS chart and adds a note to the file, an e-mail will automatically be sent to the patient’s clinical supervisor.

But even if physicians don’t walk into the free, online HMS chart room, Goodman said the company will continue to use the Internet to inventory chart notes.

“It’s better patient care,” he said. “We, as a result, do better with patients. It raises the bar of patient care to a point where it ought to be.”

It’s also saving money.

“There’s no more going to the drawer to look for charts,” said Goodman. “The charts notes can accessed from the office, or home, the beach, anywhere.”

And it also demonstrates that HMS is committed to patient care and the maintenance of a crackerjack staff.

“If my company is not doing a good job, the doctor and the sleep lab get to look at all our dirty laundry,” said Goodman.