White House Town Hall Highlights EHR Success Stories

Posted on by Frank J. Rosello

Eighty-two healthcare providers from across the country will be recognized for their successful implementation of electronic health record (EHR) technology at Tuesday’s White House Health IT Town Hall in Washington, DC.

At the town hall, senior White House and HHS officials will discuss progress and barriers on the road toward a national health IT system. The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) is hosting a variety of healthcare professionals to share lessons learned in adopting, implementing, and meaningfully using EHRs.

Among the providers attending the meeting will be Jeff Hummel, MD, medical director for health informatics at Qualis Health and the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center (WIREC), and Gregory Reicks, MD, who will be representing Colorado Beacon.

Hummel has been an EHR user and advocate since 1998 and will be discussing leveraging health IT to promote better health in communities, including solutions to health IT barriers such as privacy and security and the challenges of building systems that can “talk to each other.”

One of these challenges is delivering a clinical summary to each patient after a visit, which is a requirement for meeting the first stage of Meaningful Use. Like most of his colleagues, says Hummel, “my effort to give my patients clinical summaries at the end of each visit were usually characterized by good intentions that were usually abandoned by mid morning each day in an attempt to stay on schedule.”

When he was handed an after-visit summary at the end of a visit to his own primary care physician, he was intrigued. “I spent the next year figuring out how to redesign my clinic workflow so that entering and updating the information for the clinical summary was built into the structure of the visit, and reviewing the clinical summary with the patient became the end of the visit ritual that my patients came to expect. Now over 80 percent of my patients receive clinical summaries, and I go home on time.”

Reicks, who has seen health IT transform care delivery at Colorado Beacon, said this is a “tremendous opportunity for someone in the trenches, working with practice transformation every day, to engage with high level staff who are involved in this transformational work at a national, big-picture level,” Reicks continued, “I look forward to sharing the direct impact these federal dollars are having on my region and my practices.”

Article written by Erin McCann, Associate Editor for Government Health IT

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