Shaun Ginter is CEO of CareWell Urgent Care, a chain of 10 urgent care facilities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island that serves 130,000 patients each year. The organization is in the midst of migrating from an EHR that did not support Meaningful Use attestation to Athenahealth’s platform. As Ginter explains it, “The MU attestation process requires registration of all the physicians under CareWell. Providers who have registered elsewhere can take more than a year to change their attestation site. Because we are a new company and many physicians are new hires from other sites, this has been a work in progress. The goal is to have all the full time providers in the process at year’s end.”
You have a history of working in the retail pharmacy/urgent care space. How have you seen technology help these types of healthcare facilities evolve into more consumer-focused businesses?
Yes, in the past decade there have been many innovations in technology and new products that help us focus on the consumer. These include marketing tools, consumer-friendly websites (mobile and PC), online appointments, social media, merchant services, customer satisfaction survey tools and many others.
What EHR vendor did you switch from? Why the decision to change, and why specifically go with Athenahealth?
We moved from a vendor that had a product built with the EHR in mind and less focus on the PM side of the house. We still have a good working relationship with them. We have a large focus on the business analytics, performance metrics, and revenue cycle management side of the equation. Based on our research and due diligence, Athenahealth was able to satisfy all our requirements and then some.
How do you believe cloud-based solutions will help urgent care facilities better manage population health as part of the broader continuum of care?
Cloud-based systems provide urgent care centers with a level of sophistication that comes from a full understanding of the healthcare landscape throughout the country. Athenahealth has thousands of interfaces that allow our EHR to communicate with just about any system in use today.
Do you foresee CareWell tapping into local/regional HIEs?
Yes, we are currently working on connecting to the Mass Highway. which will allow us to share information on our patients through this HIE. With our new EHR, we also have the opportunity to connect directly to any health systems or large groups using preexisting interfaces.
What are your thoughts on the state of interoperability as it relates to urgent care? Do you foresee organizations like CareWell becoming a part of groups like CommonWell?
Urgent care providers around the country are looking at ways to move forward with interoperability. The challenges we all face are the costs of this technology and the understanding of how interoperability will improve the care of our patients in the long run. We do not know enough specifically regarding CommonWell. However, if we can determine that system interoperability can and will improve patient outcomes then we would consider it. There is good potential with these systems; we just don’t know enough about them as of yet.