Sunday, December 07, 2003

An end (and a beginning)

I did something yesterday I had never done before. I attended the funeral of a patient. Except that Charlie was not exactly a patient in the usual sense.

At Charlie's funeral, a crowded affair at his Mormon temple, I learned some things about this man whose life briefly touched mine. He was a devoted family man with 5 children, very active in his local community helping out with T-ball leagues, was very spiritual in his faith. He worked as a mortician, which struck me as somewhat ironic. The many stories and remembrances shared by his family and friends reminded me that we tend to lionize those who pass away, and yet I wondered if I could ever be as good as man as Charlie seemed. I suppose even the most accomplished person still has some regrets when he/she dies.

After a period of waiting, things seem to be rolling ahead again with my solo practice venture. The current tenant of my future office space is indeed moving out on time, and I hope to be able to start moving in starting tomorrow. I bought an inexpensive pedastal sink at the local hardware store for less than $100 to be installed in the one exam room, and a handyman is scheduled to install it tomorrow.

I had been told by the malpractice insurance agent that I had been approved for coverage last week, but still had not received the official notice yet. That was because they had mailed it to my future office address, and I did not have access to it yet. Luckily, the landlord held the letter for me which I opened today. Surprisingly, the annual premium was less than what I expected, about $5000 for the first year. It will go up gradually every year for 5 years, as I increase my patient panel (and presumed malpractice risk). I have to mail back a check and then I will be covered.

I finally received my EMR program last week, too, after ordering it a month before. First it was delivered to the wrong address. Then by the time I got the disc it turned out to be the version to upgrade the program rather than the software for a new installation. I have been playing around with it, but of course, I won't really know how well it flows until I start charting a real patient encounter.

I've ordered some hardware. A Palm Tungsten C loaded with Epocrates Pro, InfoRetriever and some shareware medical programs. I have a demo of Bluefish Rx, too, which is a prescription writing program. It allows printing and faxing of prescriptions, but I think it costs $20/month for the fax service. In the interest of keeping costs down, I think it will still be cheaper to handwrite prescriptions for a while. But the *Wow Factor* of being able to fax prescriptions from my PDA is certainly intriguing and fits into my model of a smalltown practice utilizing 21st Century technology.

I bought both a black and white laserprinter, and a multifunction inkjet color printer/fax/scan/copy machine so that I could save on some space, which I won't have a lot of in my new (small) office.

I hope to finally start moving in to my new office space tomorrow. Such is the natural cycle of life. Some things come to an end while other things begin anew.

Goodbye, Charlie.

Countdown: 29 days until target start date