HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius praised the Columbia Basin Health Association—a provider of medical and dental services to rural communities in Washington state—for their work in using electronic health-record and practice-management systems to improve patient care and practice efficiency.
Sebelius, in a news release, said the association “is just one place in America where health information technology and electronic health records have helped ensure patients get better care.” The release accompanies the posting of a report on activities at Columbia on HHS' Web site touting healthcare reform, healthreform.gov.
Columbia operates clinics in the communities of Othello, Connell and Mattawa in southeastern Washington, a service territory designated as a mental health, dental and primary-care health professional shortage area. The clinic uses an OnBase document imaging system, Centricity practice management and EHR and ScriptPro robotic prescription system, according to the clinic's Web site. The clinic was a 2004 winner of the annual AMDIS Awards for Achievement in Applied Medical Informatics from the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems.
The Sebelius commendation focused on the clinics' success in improving care for 1,302 diabetics tracked using their EHR. According to Columbia's report, in January 2008, 31% percent of diabetic patients at association clinics had received a foot exam and 37% had received an eye exam during the previous year. But by June 2008, those percentages jumped to 86% and 63%, respectively. Using its practice-management software, association clinics halved the number of “no shows” for dental patients and filled 100% of available appointment slots, the report says.