Dr. Reed Uses Health IT to Help Her Patients Improve Health and Wellness
Dr. Michele C. Reed is Owner and Medical Director of MS Family Medicine Health Care, P.C. (MSFM), a primary care practice with two New York locations – one in Queens and one on Long Island. At the two office locations, four providers deliver care to a patient population that includes commercial and Medicaid beneficiaries. Under Dr. Reed’s leadership, MSFM is using its electronic health record (EHR) system to improve patient engagement and encourage patients to take greater ownership of their health and health care.
Improving Patient Engagement
As a family practice, Dr. Reed and her colleagues focus on preventive health care. Patient engagement and compliance, however, were frequent challenges. “We wanted our patients to think about their health, even when they were not in our office,” explained Dr. Reed.
In December 2012, Dr. Reed learned about a popular weight loss program through social media. She reached out to the creator of the program about introducing the program in her practice. Dr. Reed then formed a wellness program at MSFM called “Team Breakthrough” and offered the weight loss program to patients as Team Breakthrough’s first initiative. The purpose of Team Breakthrough is to provide MSFM patients with health and wellness information and resources, exercise classes, and team support. In April 2014, for example, Team Breakthrough’s members are participating in a local 5k race.
Using Health IT to Keep Track of Patient Progress
After starting Team Breakthrough, Dr. Reed and MSFM realized they could use Health IT to support the program. Using the EHR system’s patient registry functionality, Dr. Reed and her colleagues are able to track patient progress on key health indicators, such as weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. With nearly 400 patients participating in Team Breakthrough, the EHR system’s ability to efficiently keep track of MSFM’s patients is helping Dr. Reed and MSFM monitor the program’s success and make changes as necessary.
In addition to monitoring patient progress, Dr. Reed and her colleagues are using Health IT to encourage Team Breakthrough’s members to take greater ownership of their health and health care. With the practice’s patient portal, patients can view important information – such as recent laboratory results – and keep track of their progress. “Our main goal as a practice is to get patients to think what they can do to improve their health,” said Dr. Reed. “Our patient portal is critical because it helps us empower our patients.”
Improved Health Outcomes
Since joining Team Breakthrough, a number of MSFM’s patients have seen substantial health improvements. “We have seen reductions in hemoglobin A1c among our patients with prediabetes and diabetes along with reductions in cholesterol levels by 15-50 points across many of the patients in Team Breakthrough,” explained Dr. Reed. “Some of our patients with chronic conditions have even been able to reduce or stop taking some of their medications.” Through Team Breakthrough, Dr. Reed and her colleagues at MSFM increasing patient engagement and improving health outcomes. They plan to continue building on their success and are currently working to become a Level 3 National Committee for Quality Assurance Patient-Centered Medical Home.