Let's get some of the basics out of the way first.
In her office, there is her and her admin assistant. The clinic has a large waiting room and two private offices, one used mostly as a break room and one used as a combination personal doctor's office and interview room.
Before choosing technology, we first need to figure out what sorts of activities needed to be supported. Here is a sample:
- receive and make phone calls, handle voice mails, etc. (booking appts, communicating with other doctors, etc.)
- receive and send faxes (this is worth a rant on its own, but the fact is, particularly for private medical offices, around here almost all communication is still done by faxes)
- email and web access (you think doctors don't look everything up on Google?)
- some way of scheduling and managing patient appointments
- some way of creating, updating and otherwise managing patient health records
- dictating and transcription of reports
- access to lab results and selected other reports; in Alberta, all lab results get posted to Netcare, the provincially run electronic health record (EHR) system, which contains only a subset of information on patients
- billing the government for medical services
- general business needs (e.g. accounts payables, bookkeeping, etc.)
Psychiatry is pretty light on specialized equipment; after all, the only "procedure" they can bill for is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which due to the anesthesia requirements is not done in your typical outpatient setting. But some standard tools like a basic blood pressure cuff and scale are handy to have.
Next post I'll cover some of the basic communication choices (internet, phone, fax) before getting into one of the big decision points: paper or electronic charts.