Greg Wolverton, FHIMSS is CIO of ARcare/KentuckyCare, a non-profit that provides medical and dental care to residents in rural Arkansas and Kentucky (where it is known as KentuckyCare). Its 406 staff members typically care for between 900 and 1,000 patients each day across 37 clinics, all of which are Joint Commission Accredited. It is currently National Committee for Quality Assurance Level 3 for 34 of its locations, and is a Joint Commission Primary Care Medical Home.
The organization recently received the HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 Ambulatory Award for attaining the highest level of EMR adoption. ARcare physicians, who undergo three weeks of EHR training, have demonstrated 99-percent CPOE and 100-percent documentation in structured forms. The organization moved from an eClinicalWorks EHR in January 2013 to Greenway Health’s SuccessEHS, and plans to attest for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use this August. It is currently in transition from Google Enterprise Apps to Microsoft Office 365.
ARcare is the first FQHC to receive the Stage 7 distinction. What specific challenges do FQHCs face when it comes to implementing and effectively using EHRs?
- Rural communications access
- Necessary monies
- HIT Leadership
Your business model seems to be very agile, which no doubt enabled you to advance EHR utilization quickly. Why go with this type of model? How has it affected patient care, quality, and cost?
With the number of locations we have, we had to become very lean and agile. We are currently virtualized in our server space as well as 90-percent deployed in the desktop space. By becoming lean and managing lean, savings can be passed along to provide patient services.
Do you anticipate adding more clinics/facilities in the near future? Will your current EHR be able to handle future growth?
We absolutely plan on growing in the future. We have averaged a 14-percent growth rate over the last five years and plan to continue that pace. We are currently scheduled to open four more locations in 2014. Time will tell if SuccessEHS will be able to keep up the pace; however, my current experience tells me they are in for the ride.
How did your physicians react to the three weeks of mandatory EHR training? How did this play into the overall success of EHR adoption throughout ARcare’s facilities?
For the most part they appreciated the extra training. There were some that pushed back, but it is important that we give everyone the tools they need to do their job and that includes proper training. Like it or not, we train.
Why did ARcare choose to become a part of the Blue Button initiative? Have patients utilized it?
I thought the Blue Button would be an excellent marketing piece to “brand” the patient experience when looking for how to get their information and view, download, or transmit it. It is working, however slowly, but I think patients will begin to settle in with this. Just like ATMs were 30 years ago, my children do not know what it would be like to NOT have an ATM.