St. Francis Family Practice in Wilmington, DE, went live with its electronic health record (EHR) system on July 13, 2010. The physicians and staff at St. Francis faced many common challenges as they made their transition to EHR. It took time to learn how to use the EHR to improve patient care. It took effort to make changes in the practice to meet measures required for Stage 1 Meaningful Use.
Dr. Hugh Bonner, a physician at St. Francis, embraced a team approach to meeting these challenges. By bringing physicians, nurses, and medical assistants together with the office manager, office staff, and other support staff, St. Francis successfully achieved Stage 1 Meaningful Use and implemented numerous quality improvements that have a direct impact on patient outcomes.
As one example of success at St. Francis, Dr. Bonner built a template around the Million Hearts® criteria to automatically populate recommended interventions into Patient Manager for patients 45 and older when preventive care ICD-9 codes V70.0, V72.31 or various ICD-9 codes related to tobacco usage, dyslipidemia, hypertension, or diabetes are entered to the chart. “This template prompts the completion of Million Hearts® for all of our patients most likely to benefit from this intervention,” reports Dr. Bonner.
St. Francis has also built similar templates around the USPSTF guidelines for patients of all ages, with the goal of increasing compliance with all USPSTF guidelines in all age groups and to improve patient care. “I have worked to build guidelines into our Patient Manager section based upon the American Diabetes Association and JNC7 recommendations, respectively, to improve the care that we offer to our patients with diabetes and hypertension,” said Dr. Bonner. “I have also worked on constructing the Million Hearts® program and all level A and B USPSTF guidelines into our Patient Manager.”
“The ability of an EHR, if utilized to its potential, to allow best patient care practices to be incorporated into the day-to-day care of our patient panel will make a huge impact on improving care,” said Dr. Bonner.
Dr. Bonner recommends that other practices facing such transitions seek assistance from their local Regional Extension Center (REC). Dr. Bonner credits Quality Insights of Delaware for providing the guidance and knowledge needed to help the practice successfully transition from paper charts to the electronic system, as well as achieve MU status. Making this transition has allowed St. Francis to expand on the functionality of its EHR to advance the aims of quality improvement programs such as Million Hearts®. “We are also preparing for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use and are learning how to utilize the resources provided by our EHR to improve the quality of care that we offer to our patients.”