Chad Jensen Helps His Pediatric Practice Increase Immunization Rates and Improve Health Care Quality
Chad Jensen is the Executive Office Manager for LaTouche Pediatrics, a three-site pediatric practice in Anchorage, Alaska with 18 providers. Mr. Jensen helped LaTouche become the first practice in the state to achieve Stage 1 meaningful use under the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. More recently, Mr. Jensen has been instrumental in helping LaTouche use its electronic health record (EHR) system to improve health care quality.
“I Did It By Two” – Improving Preventive Health Care
LaTouche undertook the challenge of improving immunization rates in young children as part of the “I Did It By Two” campaign, a national initiative to reduce the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases in children. Mr. Jensen helped LaTouche begin using EHR-generated clinical reminders to notify families when their child is due for immunizations. “On the EHR system, we can generate lists of patients who are due for vaccinations,” Mr. Jensen explained. “We then upload the lists to our EHR’s automated calling system, which calls the families and encourages them to connect with our schedulers.” The schedulers then help the patients schedule office visits to get the vaccine.
Using Health IT to Improve Respiratory Syncytial Virus Care
In addition to using the EHR system to improve immunization rates, Mr. Jensen is helping LaTouche identify cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), a potentially serious infection of the lungs and airways in infants. “In the past, we had to rely solely on providers to identify RSV cases,” explained Mr. Jensen. “With EHRs, we can aggregate and analyze patient data to ensure that we do not miss any cases and, if necessary, reexamine patients.”
To identify patients that potentially have the virus, LaTouche regularly uses the EHR system to generate a list of patients with common symptoms of RSV and color codes the patients depending on the level of certainty. Using the color-coded list, Mr. Jensen collaborates with LaTouche’s nurses and physicians to find children with RSV who may have otherwise been undiagnosed. “The color-coding system enables us to quickly ascertain which patients need to schedule follow-up appointments,” explained Mr. Jensen. “This process would be impossible with paper records.” If Mr. Jensen and LaTouche’s providers identify a child who needs to come to the practice for an office visit, one of LaTouche’s providers personally reaches out to the family to schedule follow-up care.
Improved Health Outcomes & Future Health IT Initiatives
With Mr. Jensen’s IT expertise and project management skills, LaTouche is improving health care quality for its patients. After implementing its automated immunization reminder system, LaTouche increased its already-high immunization rate among young children by more than 5%. Furthermore, LaTouche is identifying more RSV cases than ever before, largely due to the Health IT-driven improvements in health care quality. “Even if we only catch one case we would not have without Health IT, that is a huge improvement,” said Mr. Jensen.
Mr. Jensen and LaTouche plan to continue using Health IT improve health care quality. Among other initiatives, Mr. Jensen is working to help LaTouche become a National Committee for Quality Assurance Patient-Centered Medical Home. He also serves as a Health IT resource in the Anchorage community, providing tips to help other providers understand how to meaningfully use Health IT to improve health care quality. Additionally, the practice is currently working on developing a bi-directional interface with the state immunization registry so they can collect and share immunization information with other providers in Alaska. “With more information, we can provider better care to our patients,” said Mr. Jensen.