Foresight Family Physicians Achieves Meaningful Use and Improves Health Care Quality
Dr. Gregory Reicks is a family practitioner at Foresight Family Physicians. Located in rural Grand Junction, Colorado, Foresight Family Physicians is a small community practice that provides a wide array of primary care services and employs five providers. After initially struggling to capture structured data in their electronic health record (EHR) system, Dr. Reicks and colleagues achieved meaningful use and are now using their EHR system to improve health care quality and patient outcomes.
Overcoming Electronic Health Record Implementation Challenges
When Dr. Reicks and his colleagues first looked at the meaningful use dashboard in their EHR, they discovered much of their clinical quality measure data was either incomplete or missing. With no in-house IT support during EHR implementation, Foresight Family Physicians did not initially recognize the importance of capturing consistent, structured data in their EHR. Without structured data, the practice was unable to use their EHR to generate quality measures reports.
Dr. Reicks and the office manager moved quickly to fix the problem. They attended several training webinars offered by their EHR vendor to learn more about capturing and documenting data in their EHR. After sitting in on over ten vendor webinars and becoming “super users” of their EHR system, Dr. Reicks and the office manager organized a series of trainings for Foresight’s clinicians and staff. During the meetings, Dr. Reicks and the office manager walked through how patient data should be documented in a consistent, structured method. Over the next several months, Dr. Reicks and the office manager continued to train clinicians and staff on documenting several types of data, including vital signs, social history, allergies, and laboratory results data.
Using Data to Improve Health Care Quality
Armed with the tools and information to consistently document structured patient data in the EHR, Dr. Reicks’s practice achieved meaningful use in June 2012. Dr. Reicks says he is now much more satisfied with his practice’s data. When he runs reports to see which of his patients with diabetes need preventive health services, for example, Dr. Reicks is “much more confident” using the data.
Since achieving meaningful use, Foresight Family Physicians has begun using the EHR system to improve health care quality, care coordination, and patient outcomes. Dr. Reicks and his colleagues connected their practice to a local health information exchange organization and set up a process to electronically track admission, discharge, and transfer (ADT) messages. Staff members review the messages – which provide information on patients who have been hospitalized or were admitted to the emergency room – using the EHR system and then contact the patients for follow-up. By tracking and following up with patients after receiving ADT messages, Foresight is helping to ensure its patients receive good post-hospitalization care and are less likely to be readmitted to the hospital. “Our practice has reduced the number of hospitalizations and emergency department visits among our patient population,” explained Dr. Reicks.
Foresight Family Physicians continues to leverage health IT to improve health care quality and patient outcomes. In December 2012, the practice received National Committee for Quality Assurance Level III recognition status as a Patient-Centered Medical Home. Dr. Reicks and his colleagues at Foresight have also been selected to participate in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation Center Comprehensive Primary Care initiative and are working to further improve their practice.