Welcome to the new website. Who would have thought 30 years ago, when I first established my private practice with Dr. Sam Crawford, that I would some day have a website on the internet. But technology is changing the world in which we live and I want to take advantage of that.This feature on the website will be updated periodically as I feel like my patients need to be informed of the changes that are occurring.You do not need me to tell you that medicine is rapidly changing and we at Piedmont Family Practice and Geriatric Center are trying to work with that change because patient care is still the absolute most important thing that we provide. I am sometimes asked if I am retiring.
August 1, 2012 will be 30 years since I started my private practice with Dr. Sam Crawford and then in September 1985 I began Piedmont Family Practice.I have no plans to retire.I expect to be here for more years.I know in a small town that rumors frequently begin but I am in good health and what would I do if I did retire.I would miss my patients dearly.
This year I was elected Chief of Staff of Jacksonville Medical Center which has added to my hospital duties. Some of you might know that I am the Medical Director of the Progressive Care Unit, which is a drug and alcohol detox facility that we share with Bradford Health Services. Because of my commitment to that unit, my afternoon appointments no longer go to 4 o'clock but stop at 3 o'clock. That is so I can get things wrapped up at the office and go to the hospital because most of the admissions to the Bradford Unit come in the evening hours.As you are aware, my son, Dr. Nolan D. Ulrich, is helping me out part time and if you need to be seen in the late afternoon, he has appointments open.
Some of the new things on the horizon include an effort by the Federal Government to have physicians use electronic medical records.As you know I have had electronic medical records since 1991 but I had to make changes in the records to meet the standards that the Federal Government has established.
For those of you in the know, we did meet the meaningful use criteria in December 2011 and are now awaiting standards for the second portion of the meaningful use which are to be released mid 2012.You have noticed that when you come to the office that we questioned you about your smoking habits, language that you speak, your height, weight and blood pressure. These are all criteria that are required by the government in the electronic medical records.The hopeful result is that eventually your records will be available electronically wherever you seek medical care.The problem is how are we going to make the data available across the different computer systems.
You have also noticed that we are requesting that you either bring your medicines in or that you bring a list of all the medicines that you take whether I provide the prescription or someone else.Again, this is part of an effort to make sure that every healthcare provider that you see is aware of all the medicines that you take in order to try to prevent medication interactions that could have a very harmful effect. We are not trying to be intrusive but it is in your best interests that we know all of the medicines that you take including over-the-counter medicines. You can help us by either bringing them or having a complete list. The medications will be listed in your chart and available to us.
One of the other significant changes that is occurring in medicine is the development of a physician called a hospitalist. A hospitalist is a physician who does not have a private practice but only cares for hospital patients.
Many primary care physicians are no longer going to the hospital and providing hospital care.Jacksonville Medical Center now has hospitalists and the primary care physicians have a choice if they want to see their patients in the hospital or have the hospitalist see them. I guess I am old school, but I will continue to see my patients at Jacksonville Medical Center. If you are admitted there, I will take care of you. I will see you every day including weekends unless, for some reason, I am out of town.
On a final note, we want you to be familiar with our website.I think it is a perfect way to keep contact with my patients.In the future, I plan on having what is called a patient portal in which you will be able to check your lab values online so you will not have to be calling the office for the results.We also want this to be educational where if you want to obtain information about chronic diseases, such as diabetes, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, it will be available on the web site.
Dr. Russell Ulrich