Karen Schogel, MD is health informatics director at Genesis Medical Associates (PA). It employs 200 clinical and ancillary staff to care for over 143,000 patients each year across the practices, hospitals, nursing homes, and personal care homes it serves. The organization, which uses the GE Centricity CPS 12.0.7 EHR platform, will attest to Stage 2 of Meaningful Use this year, and has been certified as a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home. It launched Pittsburgh’s first Medicare ACO, Keystone Clinical Partners, late last year with nearby Preferred Primary Care Physicians.
How is the ACO with Preferred Primary Care Physicians coming along? Are patients receptive?
We have 2,500-plus patients enrolled and they are all receptive. Our board and committees (clinical, quality, and finance) are very active. All physicians are engaged.
How has IT played a part in getting the ACO up and running?
Utilizing our IT will make it possible for us to track patients by disease, results, and consults. We’re waiting for specific roster, cost, and quality data from Medicare.
Is GMA looking at participating in population health management programs, or eyeing any PHM-specific IT at the moment? If so, what other organizations are you working with on this?
Yes. Via MU2, we are reporting Immunization status to Pennsylvania. We are working with a local healthcare system, Allegheny Health Network, to become involved in their Tapestry HIE.
How has GMA staff reacted to Stage 3 Meaningful Use criteria?
We have not yet attested for MU2 and are not aware of the MU3 suggested guidelines. Our biggest challenge remains the measure that relates to patient use of their data online. Each office is being creative to get patients enrolled on our portal, and to encourage them to then view their data. We are using eZaccess from Strategic Business Systems as our patient portal. To help meet MU2, we have begun working with Treatspace in two ways. First, we use their Patient Network product as a means to reach out to patients over a clinical social media-like platform. Secondly, and more importantly, we’re using Treatspace Referral Network as a tool to manage the referral process with specialists and diagnostic facilities. The management of referrals is critical to report on PCMH measures, and as a means to control costs. As a group, we have not tackled MU3 yet.
How have you seen GMA’s business model change to keep up with the rise in retail and urgent care clinics?
This is a big challenge for all primary care providers. Each office has expanded its available hours (i.e. early a.m., lunchtime or after hours). We have advertised the concept of “Call us First” via our website and social media channels to remind patients that PCP involvement in all healthcare encounters is pivotal to their overall health, and to remind patients that we understand all of their concerns, even the simplest. We will have our first smartphone app in June, which will provide secure texting for the purpose of same-day office scheduling.