Dr. Rodney Elkin has been a family physician for 30 years, and practices medicine as a solo practitioner at Boothwyn Medical Associates in Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania (PA). Over nearly 30 years, Dr. Elkin has built his patient population to almost 1,200 patients, and his practice also provides care to local nursing homes.
Boothwyn Medical Associates fully implemented its Quest Care 360 electronic health record (EHR) system in 2011 with support from the Pennsylvania Regional Extension Center for Health Information Technology (PA REACH). It proved to be a large undertaking for Dr. Elkin, who by his own admission, “hates to type.” But Dr. Elkin and his staff have found that the enormous effort required to transition to EHR was worth it: Boothwyn Medical Associates has successfully met Stage 2 of Meaningful Use, and has seen multiple ways in which this technology has directly helped improve outcomes for its patients.
According to Practice Manager Anne Elkin, chronic care patients have seen measurable improvements due to the practice’s ability to generate reports from the EHR. For example, the practice now regularly runs reports to track the A1C levels of all of its patients. “We use this report to see which patients need to be monitored more closely, and who should be seen on a more frequent basis.” said Elkin. “Graphs in the EHR also allow the doctor to quickly track progress by evaluating lab results.”
As a result, Boothwyn’s percentage of diabetic patients with controlled A1C levels has gone up from 40 percent in 2014 to 76 percent in 2016.
Dr. Elkin also tracks adult immunizations in his EHR, which makes it easy to generate a report to see which patients have not yet received their immunizations. Staff make follow up calls to those patients on the list to encourage them to make an appointment to receive their needed shots. “As of today, 87 percent of our adult patient population is current with their immunizations,” shared Elkin.
The EHR has led to benefits in patient capacity capacity as well: Dr. Elkin recently added a nurse practitioner. “The EHR has allowed us to bring on a second provider and make her transition into the practice easier because every patient’s data is now in consistent, structured fields, thereby eliminating the need to navigate many years-worth of paper charts in order to gain a full picture of each patient’s health history,” said Elkin.
Boothwyn Medical Associates was pleased that even among their older patients, they have seen their patient start to gain traction with patients. In fact, Boothwyn Medical has met the 5 percent patient portal requirement for Stage 2 Meaningful Use, and is one of the few practices in Pennsylvania to achieve this outcome. “This shows that they have been successful in getting patients more involved in their own care,” said PA REACH Practice Coordinator Peter Mercuri.
Moving forward, the practice plans to expand the patient portal to include e-prescribing and visit summaries.
The team at Boothwyn Medical Associates feels excitement about the future. According to Mercuri, “EHR technology has helped this small practice stay competitive and stay on top of everything. Moving forward, Boothwyn Medical Associates is positioned to remain competitive.”
The practice is considering pursuing patient centered medical home (PCMH) certification, provided that PA REACH would help them through the process. “The expertise and resources provided by Pete were absolutely essential for our practice to achieve Meaningful Use, so if we decide to move forward with PCMH, we hope to be able to continue to rely on PA REACH for support and guidance,” said Elkin.