Dr. Ashinsky Achieves Meaningful Use, Improves Health Care Quality through Integration of EHRs
Dr. Douglas Ashinsky is a board-certified physician who practices at Warren Internal Medicine, an affiliate of Somerset Medical Center. Warren Internal Medicine is a solo practice in Warren, New Jersey that cares for approximately 3,000 patients. The practice implemented an electronic health record (EHR) system in 2010 and ever since has been using EHRs to improve health care quality and patient participation.
Dr. Ashinsky faced significant challenges during the transition from paper records to EHRs. The first two months of the transition were difficult for Warren Internal Medicine, as Dr. Ashinsky and his staff had to adjust workflows to the new EHR system. The staff had to determine what information to scan from old charts, how to enter data correctly, and who was responsible for various tasks.
In order to overcome these challenges, Dr. Ashinsky began by training his staff members to use the EHR system. With the training under their belts, Dr. Ashinsky’s staff members were able to take on more responsibility. For example, Dr. Ashinsky frequently uses his EHR to generate patient lists to find out which of his patients with chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension have not scheduled preventive screenings or laboratory tests. After generating the lists, Dr. Ashinsky empowers staff members to take responsibility for eliminating gaps in care. His staff members provide patients with treatment guidelines and other education materials to encourage patient self-management and patient participation. “When an EHR system is correctly implemented and used, patient lists are easy to generate and are a useful tool to help improve patient care,” explained Dr. Ashinsky.
Improved Health Care Quality
Dr. Ashinsky was one of the first physicians in New Jersey to attest to meaningful use, and his practice has obtained the highest level of patient-centered medical home certification from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. In the past 3 years, the practice has witnessed tangible returns on its investment in EHR: the rate of on-time colonoscopy screenings has reached 80%, mammography rates have increased from 30% to 60%, and pap smear rates have increased from 20% to 60%. “With the EHR system, I am better able to inform patients about trends in their personal data and provide evidence-based medical care,” said Dr. Ashinsky. By revealing gaps in care and facilitating communication with patients about recommended treatment, Dr. Ashinsky’s EHR system has played a vital role in improving health care quality and patient participation at Warren Internal Medicine.