Kathleen P. Soe, D.O., a dermatologic surgeon and board certified dermatologist, established Virginia Street Dermatology in 2004. Dr. Soe is a graduate of Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Her internship and residency were completed at Sun Coast Hospital. She received her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of South Florida. She is affiliated with Mease Dunedin, Mease Countryside and Helen Ellis Hospital.
How long have you lived in the Tampa Bay area?
I have lived in the Tampa Bay Area for the past 36 years, raised in Largo Florida.
What is your favorite Tampa Bay restaurant?
My favorite restaurant is Cafe Milano in downtown Clearwater.
Where is your favorite place in Tampa Bay to relax?
My favorite place to relax is riding my bike with my family on any part of the Pinellas Trail.
What is your favorite event to attend to in Tampa Bay?
My favorite event is the Dunedin Fine Art Show.
How important is it today for physicians to be involved with their community and how important is it to you personally?
I think a physician is missing the mark if they are not involved with their community. My practice spends a significant amount of time volunteering and participating in local events. This year we became the title sponsor for the Kiwanis Virginia Street Dermatology Midnight Run on July 4 here in Dunedin.
What year did your practice implement Electronic Health Records (EHR)and what was the deciding factor of your choice?
My practice implemented EHR at its inception in 2004. I knew this was the future of medicine and the world as we know it. I chose to work with a company called Misys because it was a seasoned EHR company with a good track record. Years later they were purchased by Allscripts and I have been with them ever since.
Electronic Health Records has proven to be a huge asset. In your opinion how has EHR technology benefited your practice and have there been any setbacks?
EHR ensures that patient charts are accessible both in the office, to the physician on call elsewhere and to the patient through a secured network. It also assists in consistent documentation and accuracy of patients records.
With new technology comes new liability. Due to widespread implementation of EHR comes potential data breach violations, obligations to use EHR, and obligations to know the entirety of an exponentially increased volume of data included in the electronic chart. How has your practice protected such risk and managed new obligations?
My practice elected to have Allscripts host our EHR. This essentially eliminates security issues from my end. Patients may access their records through a secure portal. A hosted system also simplifies updates.
As we know, technology evolves… not just evolves, it rapidly changes. EHR has proven to be no different in regard to changes. Has it been a consistent learning curve for your staff and yourself to keep up with the changes and if so how have you overcome such challenges?
As I said, it takes constant training to keep staff up to date and on the same page. This means hiring bright and computer literate staff from the start. We train and educate the staff daily, biweekly at staff meetings and typically hold weekend long sessions on a quarterly basis. During that time we overhaul our templates for better documentation, accuracy and to comply with government requirements.
With the usage of EHR and laptops in the examination room it raises the question of physician etiquette and how to maintain the personal attention during a patient visit. What measures do you use to implement technology while maintaining personal attention with your patients?
Physician etiquette and maintaining personal attention with the patient is the MOST IMPORTANT practice to master. How do we combine technology in our practices without taking away from our patients? I elected to use computers in every exam room. My MA sits at the computer while I give my patient 100% of my attention. As I speak to my patient outlining their treatment plan, my MA acts as a scribe and prepares prescriptions, education materials and documents the visit. My eyes and ears never leave the patient which makes for very happy patients.
Overall, how do view EHR and healthcare technology as a whole, more of an asset or burden and why?
EHR and healthcare technology is for the most part neither an asset nor a burden. It simply is the way it is. The more people stop complaining about it and move forward with the world we live in, the better off we will all be. This will become an absolute non-issue as the next generation comes along. They don’t know it any other way. Realize I mean for the healthcare industry and the patients.