Three small, unrelated, medical practices in Georgia are the first recipients a new annual award--named after an Atlanta physician--for electronic medical records implementation in primary care, a healthcare information technology group says.
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society spokesperson Joyce Lofstrom calls the Georgia connection a coincidence.
Chicago-based HIMSS this week announced that Cooper Pediatrics, Roswell Pediatric Center and Evans Medical Group have won the inaugural Primary Care Davies Award of Excellence for their effective use of IT to improve care delivery.
HIMSS previously had restricted the Davies Award, named for the late Atlanta informaticist Nicholas Davies, M.D., to hospitals and health systems. The new division honors independent primary care practices with up to 32 top- and midlevel practitioners--physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioner.
All practitioners must use the EMR for a practice to be eligible.
Roswell Pediatric Center, a nine-physician group with offices in the northeast Atlanta suburbs of Alpharetta and Cumming has been able to cut annual chart pulls from 440,000 when the EMR was installed in 2001 to near zero today, HIMSS says. Reduced charting time also helped the practice save 7.2 full-time-equivalent staff in the first 180 days after.
Evans Medical Group, in the eastern Georgia town of Evans, first computerized its medical records in 1996. By mining data from electronic charts, the four-physician practice has been able to achieve 98% compliance for childhood vaccinations and a 90% pneumonia immunization rate for patients older than 65.
HIMSS also says that patient visits have increased by 25% since last year.
"Our computerized records are so central to our operation that it is impossible to think of the practice without them," says Evans physician Robert Lamberts, M.D.
"Patient care has benefited because with the on-line disease management tools, I can show the patient on my computer how cardiac risk decreases with the improvement of blood pressure," Lamberts says. "Now, instead of me just throwing another pill at them, the patients understand the importance of good blood pressure."
Cooper Pediatrics is the solo practice of Jeffrey Cooper, M.D., in Duluth, Ga., near Atlanta. Since becoming the first customer of EMR vendor JMJ Technologies in late 1995, patient volume has increased by 255% to more than 12,000, charting time is down 75% to less than a minute per encounter, and drug refill turnaround time is has decreased by more than two-thirds, HIMSS says.
HIMSS will honor the winners at its annual conference in February.