“Always embrace technology – it’s not going to be perfect and may require a few extra clicks at the beginning, but if you embrace it, it will make your life and your patients’ lives easier.” – Annick Hebou, Medical Director
Dr. Hebou successfully navigated the change from the Program’s Stage 2 requirements to more rigorous Stage 3 requirements. In an interview with eHealthDC, she shared her insight on how she approached the more challenging Stage 3 requirements, which includes advanced methods of electronic health information exchange and interaction with the patient portal. Dr. Hebou voiced her appreciation for the technical assistance offered through eHealthDC, which is funded through the DC Department of Health Care Finance.
She explained that the individualized support helped her assess and develop a strategy and plan to meet all PI Program measures. She also emphasized the importance of embracing technology and the potential to learn new EHR functions through the assistance program.
You can read about our conversation with Dr. Hebou on Stage 3 and her experience working with eHealthDC below.
A Conversation with Dr. Ama Tyus
Q: You met the requirements for Stage 3 of the Promoting Interoperability Program, which involved electronically receiving summary of care records from other providers and incorporating the information into your EHR. How did your use of health IT and HIE tools evolve?
A: The discharge summary we get is great and helps us use it to connect to other institutions. It is directly integrated into our charts to reconcile information when our patients are seen by other providers. We have a single-sign on through CRISP, so once you sign-on to [our EHR] eClinicalWorks, there is a tab you click on and it is an easy transition to [the documents from] CRISP.
One thing I look forward to having is a better connection to District hospitals so that we can really have that become our standard of care. It’s great to have all information directly there and be able to integrate it into the EHR. I look forward to seeing how hospitals and health centers will evolve in their participation with this [Promoting Interoperability] Program.
Q: How has eHealthDC assisted you with health IT and/or HIE? How has that assistance benefited your practice and/or patients?
A: Our eHealthDC Technical Assistance (TA) Specialist was helpful to send us a Meaningful Use Guidebook and followed up to review all measures and prepare MetroHealth for what actions were needed. It was helpful to analyze where the organization stood and what strategies needed to be in place to move forward. This communication was key to understand what we were doing well and what we could improve.
It was helpful to share concerns about issues our organization was having and have eHealthDC help with the resolution. For example, there are more requirements to use the portal with the [Stage 3] Program, and there was a time we thought our web portal system was not working. Our TA connected us to the right resource. It has been instrumental; we had a plan to work towards and then we moved forward to implement the plan and consistently review our progress. Now, ensuring all patients are web enabled is beneficial to communicate through the patient portal.
Q: Is there anything else about the change to Stage 3 that you would like to share?
A: It is important to start working with eHealthDC early and have consistent meetings. The incentives offered are high, so you should work with the help that is available. It’s not a lot of time, you could spend 15-minutes a week and make tremendous progress.
Another thing I would add is to always embrace technology. It is not always going to be perfect, but you do not want to have to call all the hospitals to figure out where a patient’s medical summary is located and have them fax it. You want to have access to the information in the electronic health record. You should have the attitude to embrace it.
Q: Are there helpful resources that have helped you throughout this process?
A: The Meaningful Use Guide that our TA Specialist gave us was most important, because if there was something in our processes that did not work, I could always refer to the guide to identify and re-evaluate what the issue was. It showed us a snapshot of each focused issue and what each part of the guide was saying.