DVHIMSS Winter Symposium Highlights Local Progress on EHR Adoption
The rate of electronic health record adoption among priority primary care providers is rising rapidly in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Southern New Jersey, according to directors of the regional extension centers in those states. The directors presented an update to attendees of the Delaware Valley Healthcare Information Management System Society's
Winter Symposium held Jan. 19 at the Microsoft Technology Center in Malvern, Pa.
Anita Somplasky, RN, executive director of the Pennsylvania Regional Extension Centers; Bill O'Byrne, executive director of NJ-HITEC; and Beth Schindele, director of the Delaware Regional Extension Center, each showed dashboards of their progress and described their strategies, successes, and challenges.
One of the directors' main obstacles has been identifying and locating how many PPCPs are in their regions. A PPCP is defined as an MD, DO, nurse practitioner or certified nurse midwife, who practices in the following settings:
- Primary care providers in individual and small practices of 10 or less
- Public and critical access hospitals
- FQCHCs, community health centers and rural health clinics
- Other settings that serve uninsured, underinsured and medically underserved populations.
Once they pinpointed the PPCPs, the next step was to recruit them to enroll in the RECs, which can provide them with training and resources to transition from a paper-based medical records system to a certified EHR system. Each of the tri-state RECs are close to meeting or have surpassed their recruitment goals.
In Delaware, about 93 percent of REC enrollees are already e-prescribing and capable of quality reporting. In New Jersey and Pennsylvania, about 55 percent of their enrollees are at this second stage.
The RECs' efforts are intently focused on helping their enrollees to achieve the third milestone of meaningful use. Crucial to their success is educating PPCPs throughout the learning curve as they become more familiar with the full extent of their EHR system's capabilities. So far, 17 percent, 15 percent, 8 percent of REC members in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey respectively have reached the meaningful use stage.
As more PPCPs get ramped up and are ready to go as meaningful users, the directors agreed that the next big challenge will be to educate patients about how to access, protect, and use their electronic medical records to improve their health and facilitate communication with their physicians.