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Health IT Success Stories

Dr. Kendrick Improves Care Coordination

'It is important to make the investments of time and technology required to support the community.' - Dr. Kendirck

Dr. David Kendrick is board-certified in internal medicine and pediatrics and is the principle investigator and Chief Executive Officer of MyHealth Access Network, a health information organization and Beacon Community in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The network provides health information exchange (HIE) services to several health insurance payers and more than 2,000 providers. With its expertise in HIE, MyHealth is helping providers in the Tulsa area overcome barriers to care coordination.

Closing the Loop

Because Tulsa’s local payers had worked together under the MyHealth Access Network, they were in a good position to apply for the Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC) initiative, a practice transformation initiative funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Dr. Kendrick and his colleagues at MyHealth were tasked with helping providers in the CPC initiative achieve several milestones. Initially, however, MyHealth and the providers participating in the initiative encountered barriers to electronic health record (EHR) system interoperability and care coordination. In particular, Dr. Kendrick noticed primary care providers and specialists could not adequately communicate with one another to “close the loop” after primary care providers referred patients for specialty care. “The existing EHR structure did not address barriers to referral loop closure,” Dr. Kendrick explained.

Do-It-Yourself Electronic Health Record Optimization

In the face of the system challenges, Dr. Kendrick and his colleagues at MyHealth decided to solve the problems internally. MyHealth’s IT staff spent months working with providers to standardize continuity of care documents, which facilitate the flow of information between different health care providers and help coordinate care more effectively. MyHealth also created a training program and established a field team to help providers understand how to use the technology tools to facilitate care coordination. “The training program focuses on preparing case managers to help coordinate care, while the field team works to help change the practice culture around care coordination,” said Dr. Kendrick.

To address the specific challenge of closing referral loops, MyHealth took it a step further. Dr. Kendrick and his colleagues designed “Doc2Doc,” a web-based platform that enables referring providers to communicate with specialists and specialists to conduct electronic consultations. With the Doc2Doc system, specialists and primary care providers can work together to develop patient care plans and coordinate care.

Hard Work Pays Off

By making significant time and technology investments, MyHealth helped equip providers in the Tulsa area with tools to facilitate care coordination, improve patient care, and meet CPC initiative milestones. Doc2Doc, for example, has been a great success. The platform increased the rate of referral loop closures from 10% to 80% and is helping to decrease health care costs by reducing unnecessary specialist visits.

Dr. Kendrick and MyHealth Access Network will continue to work with the Tulsa community to improve HIE and care coordination. “It is important to make the investments of time and technology required to support providers in the community,” Dr. Kendrick explained.