Introducing the OpNote Consultants: Dr. Roger N. Chabra

March 5, 2010 at 4:27 pm 1 comment

While creating our surgical reporting product, the OpNote, we at mTuitive have been working with many highly skilled surgeons.  These surgeons are from a diverse group of specialties and backgrounds and help to shape the future and efficacy of the OpNote.  We’re introducing these consultants to all of you in the coming weeks.

Dr. Roger Nathan Chabra graduated in 1962 from Christian Medical College of Punjab University in India.  For his post-graduate surgical training, he went to the United Kingdom and became Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh in 1969.

In 1970, he emigrated to the United States and went through a complete surgical residency program at Boston University Medical Center.  He joined Cape Cod Hospital as Attending General Surgeon in 1974 where he worked until his retirement in 2000.

During his time at Cape Cod Hospital he was on the faculty of Boston University Medical School as Clinical Instructor in Surgery and was involved in training surgical residents and medical students rotating through the hospital, which is an affiliate of the Department of Surgery at Boston University Hospital.

How did you get interested in medicine?

Where I grew up, in India, there’s a lot of influence of the parents.   In a subtle way, they decide what their children are going to be.  So there was this slow…”brainwashing” may be too strong a term.


But that was going on all the time.  It was almost difficult to escape that concept.  In a country like India, you do not want to disappoint your parents, or make them unhappy because you chose something different than what they wanted.

So the die was cast, as far as I was concerned.

Why did you decide to become a surgeon?

I had surgery at a very young age.  I was in this magnificent hospital and I saw the aura around the surgeon and the nurses.   The reverence and respect they received.

“My god,” I said, “I want to be like them one of these days.”

So that drove me into surgery.  My original field was going to be chest surgery, because I had thoracic surgery done on myself.  That didn’t pan out, so instead I became a general surgeon.

How did you first hear about mTuitive?   When did you get involved in the product that would become the OpNote?

I became an investor of mTuitive while they were developing their pathology product.  And I knew Dr. [Bill] O’Toole from our time at [Cape Cod Hospital] and Bill was, at that time, working on the pathology product.  So I used to come into the office and chat with him and contributed a little to xPert for Pathology.

But, believe it or not, it was at that time that I introduced the concept of what would eventually become the mTuitive OpNote.  I knew how regularly a surgeon operates, it’s almost the same process every time, how similarly he reports each one; therefore standardization would help make it better and easier. I had brought in some of my old operative reports for Bill to look at.

Once the pathology product was completed and on the market, I get a call from John Murphy [CEO & Founder of mTuitive].  “You know,” he said, “we’re thinking we should follow that operative report idea.”

So I agreed to come and work on the OpNote.  And by that time Dr. Kaess and Dr. Rapo had retired and I said, “wouldn’t it be wonderful if instead of just me, I could bring some other talents into this process?”  So I called them in and told them about the product and they were very excited about it.

What about the OpNote product has kept you interested in developing it?  Besides being an investor, why did you think it was a worthy idea?

I was always optimistic about it.  I believe that sooner or later, people are going to realize that that removing dictation from operation reports is an inherently good concept.  It should be somehow, in this day and age, computer generated.

I had some doubts initially but the more we worked on creating our own solution – we cleaned up our act here and there, we took other doctors’ opinions and incorporated those into the product – the better it looked.  The editing capability, which we have introduced into the OpNote, now allows you to write it the way you want it.  So then I realized, “my god, we have a good product here!”

What do you envision resulting from this push for EMRs and the continued expansion of Health IT?  What do you hope will come out of this renewed interest in updating the technology of our health system?  And what do think you will actually happen from these initiatives?

I think the aim of these initiatives should be to find better ways of transferring information, preferably electronically.  The ultimate goal is that a patient could be treated anywhere – and, [as a surgeon,] I should not be waiting for the records to be sent to me, faxed to me.  It could take days to receive that information.   When I see the patient, within a short time – perhaps even before I see the patient – if I can have his vast medical history available to me, it’ll make my life so much easier and my care of the patient so much better.  I won’t be repeating the tests that were done three weeks ago somewhere else.

Coordinated systems have to exist – and I don’t see how that could come around unless it’s electronically done.  We’re not going to hand carry all of these things, with messengers.  On top of that, according to what we’ve seen, such a system will save a lot of money to the healthcare system as well.

What were the biggest problems – or the problems that recurred most often – you found in the dictation & transcription process?

Traditionally, postoperative reports never contain any CPT codes for the procedures – so there was a different set of people that had to read your report to somehow extract what they believe it is the surgeon did, and then see what CPT code matches that belief.  I think the system we’re creating, basically the surgeon is becoming in charge of determining and applying the right code.  Medical practices require a special employee to review all these reports and codes – and that’s just not cost or time effective.

The delay in getting the operative reports was something we noticed – this new system will eliminate those delays.


Entry filed under: OpNote Consultants. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

The Surgeon Wore Camo Introducing the OpNote Consultants: Dr. H. Walter Kaess

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. HITECH – One Year Later « Reports From The O.R.  |  March 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    […] ever/when ever that individual seeks treatment.  This is the ideal that Dr. H. Walter Kaess and Dr. Roger Chabra spoke of when I interviewed them recently.  GE has illustrated this idea dynamically in its recent […]


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Disclosure Statement - The authors of this blog are paid employees of mTuitive Inc. and are compensated for their services.

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