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Health IT Success Stories

Dr. Berneike’s Clinic Meets Diabetes Treatment Goals with Health IT

'Do what is right for the patient. Do what is right for the overall health care system.' -Dr. John Berneike

Dr. John Berneike is a family physician and Clinical Director at St. Mark’s Family Medicine, an independent practice and residency clinic in Salt Lake City, Utah with six faculty and twelve residents. In 2007, Dr. Berneike, who worked in IT before beginning his medical career, helped the clinic implement an electronic health record (EHR) system. Since implementing an EHR system, the clinic joined the Salt Lake City Beacon Community, a local Beacon project initiative focused on improving patient outcomes for patients with diabetes.

Using Health IT to Improve Diabetes Care

When St. Mark’s joined the Salt Lake City Beacon Community, Dr. Berneike and his colleagues recorded baseline clinical measures for their patients with diabetes – including hemoglobin A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol measures – and established performance targets aimed at improving each measure. After recording the baseline measures, St. Mark’s made several changes. The clinic adopted a data analytics tool to scan the EHR system database and generate daily status reports about diabetic patients. These reports include patient lists, which allow St. Mark’s to monitor changes in patients’ clinical markers. The patient lists also highlight care deficiencies and prompt St. Mark’s to provide patients with preventive care reminders, including reminders for routine eye exams and laboratory testing. In addition to patient lists, St. Mark’s is using clinical decision support tools to alert providers to patients’ preventive care and chronic disease management needs. When a patient with diabetes comes into the clinic with a cold, for example, an EHR-generated alert will remind the provider if the patient has any preventive care or chronic disease management deficiencies.

Improved Patient Outcomes

St. Mark’s achieved great success. After a year and a half of participating in the Beacon community, the clinic’s new EHR tools helped St. Mark’s significantly improve patient outcomes for patients with diabetes and meet all of its Beacon community performance targets. “We significantly improved clinical outcomes for our patients with diabetes. Our next step is using our experience as a springboard to other quality improvement efforts,” said Dr. Berneike.

Plans for Future Health IT-Driven Improvement

St. Mark’s is already building on its work with patients with diabetes and is beginning to use Health IT to improve care for patients with cardiovascular diseases. Dr. Berneike is a member of the core planning team for the local chapter of the Million Hearts initiative, an initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. The team, which includes members of HealthInsight, the Regional Extension Center for Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah, as well as members of the Utah Department of Health, is working to improve hypertension care in Utah.

Dr. Berneike is driven to promote Health IT and aims to be on the leading edge of initiatives to improve health care quality and efficiency. “A personal goal of mine is to prove to myself and to my community that a small private practice can be a leader in this new era of health care,” said Dr. Berneike. To that end, Dr. Berneike presents at Health IT conferences to promote Health IT to providers, participates in EHR user groups, and involves himself in state legislative efforts around Health IT. To promote health information exchange in Utah, Dr. Berneike also serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Clinician Committee for the Utah Health Information Network.