Community Care was an early user of the Resource and Patient Management System developed by the Indian Health Service from the Veterans Affairs Department's VistA. It switched to a Web-based EHR and practice-management system from Athenahealth in October, although starting with RPMS's EHR was “one of the best learning experiences we could have had,” Chouinard says.
“We learned how to practice medicine in a medical home,” she says. “What you really have to do is data analytics—of all my patients, X are women, and what percentage is due for mammograms?” RPMS excels at that sort of population management reporting.
Chouinard says the new system is taking the clinic network to the next technological level. More than half of the clinic's patients have signed up to use its patient portal, for example.
The technology is also helping the network target specific patient populations. Bonnie's Bus is a mobile, digital breast cancer screening service run by West Virginia University, but utilization of the service by Community Care patients had been low. The clinic would distribute fliers before its visits, Chouinard says, but with its EHR and practice-management systems now fully integrated, the clinics can identify patients both in need of a mammogram and without health insurance coverage who'd benefit most from the free service. “Now, we can call up and say, 'Sandy, don't miss this opportunity.' So, it's just better care coordination.”