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Success Stories

Over 90% of providers who adopt an EHR say they are glad they did it.*  The following providers participating in a program called PCIP (Primary Care Information Project) would surely agree with this. PCIP is a NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene program that provided EHR adoption services to providers in NYC.  Over 2,500 providers in New York City joined PCIP, each with a unique patient mix, specific practice needs, and their own approach to healthcare.  The following illustrates a few ways physicians found value from the program.

* Reference New England Journal of Medicine's "Electronic Health Records in Ambulatory Care - A National Survey of Physician"

 

Dr. Michael Raffinan, Access Physician, P.C. Park Slope, Brooklyn and Financial District, Manhattan

4,200 patient visits per year

 

Dr. Yvette Ortiz, Uptown Medical Grand Concourse, Bronx

10,000 patient visits per year

 

Gerardo Valdrez, Lutheran Family Health Centers Brooklyn

More than 600,000 patient visits per year

 

 

Dr. Michael Raffinan, Access Physician, P.C. Park Slope, Brooklyn and Financial District, Manhattan
4,200 patient visits per year

 

Dr. Raffinan takes patient access so seriously that he named his family practice "Access Physician." At Access Physican, patients can receive lab results, request refills, get referrals, and ask basic medical questions by sending electronic messages directly to their doctor. This helps reduce the length of appointments and lets him focus on the important topics, not basic health information, during the visit.

 

"Patients love it," says Dr. Raffinan, who adopted the eClinicalWorks EHR through the Primary Care Information Project and uses the patient portal with over 460 "web-enabled" patients. "I love it, too, because it helps keep me off the phone." As Dr. Raffinan notes, primary care physicians typically spend up to a third of their time fielding telephone calls. With the patient portal feature, messages come directly to Dr. Raffinan's through his EHR, where he can respond at his convenience without needing to dial a number.

 

"At first, I was afraid I would be overwhelmed by all the messages," says Raffinan, "but what I found is that when patients feel like it's easy to reach you, they're less nervous and therefore less likely to contact you when it isn't necessary."

 

 

Dr. Yvette Ortiz, Uptown Medical Grand Concourse, Bronx
10,000 patient visits per year

 

Dr. Yvette Ortiz wanted to use electronic health records since she opened Uptown Medical in the Bronx ten years ago, but until the Primary Care Information Project came along, it was always too expensive.

 

The transition from paper charts in October 2007 was quite a challenge, but that Thanksgiving, Dr. Ortiz had an experience that drove home the value of electronic records. She was home cooking when she received a call from a hospital: One of her elderly patients had been admitted with severe infection in her finger and, suffering from dementia, wasn't able to tell the doctors about her medical conditions.

 

Flipping open her laptop from home, Dr. Ortiz was able to access the patient's record remotely, let the hospital know that the patient's kidney disease was longstanding and gave a list of other co-morbidities and medications, preventing wasting precious time at the hospital duplicating diagnosis and treatment. "Had this been before my medical record, I would have been calling my staff to go back to the office to open up and dig out records. At that point I felt like it was all so worth it."

 

 

Gerardo Valdrez, Lutheran Family Health Centers Brooklyn
More than 600,000 patient visits per year

 

With over 300 providers across 25 sites, Lutheran's director of EHR implementation, Gerardo Valdrez, knew universal EHR adoption would be a challenge. His nursing background helped him see the project from a clinical point of view, and he quickly realized that Lutheran physicians needed customized training on the EMR in order to fully integrate computer documentation into daily practice.

 

The training model presented by the vendor involved four days of classroom training time, but Mr. Valdrez believed they would benefit from shortened class time and more on-site, point of care coaching. Usually EHR vendors hesitate to abandon their time-tested training methods, but Lutheran had additional support from PCIP. With the help of PCIP experts and the support of Lutheran's senior management, a modified training curriculum and strategy was implemented.

 

The provider response was overwhelmingly positive. One doctor in particular was not tech-savvy at the start, but the amount of senior support and tailored training convinced him of the benefits of using an EHR. In fact, he came to extra training sessions beyond what was required. "There was a lot of anxiety as we began with the process, but quitting was not even an option either, as other institutions are going live on EHRs," Mr. Valdrez recalls. With the appropriate amount of training to start and ongoing "just in time" training sessions provided, the Lutheran providers and staff continue to master the multi-faceted functionalities of the EHR.

 

As Lutheran continues to sponsor site visits from other institutions who want to go live with an EMR, Mr. Valdrez emphasizes implementers should "not fear the learning curve and the many changes that come with EHR adoption, instead expect to be pleasantly surprised."