David Shih, MD is CMO at CityMD, a chain of urgent care facilities in New York and New Jersey. The company, which employs 1,500 staff to care for 1.3 million patients each year, made the switch from Aprima to EClinicalWorks last fall and is looking to begin the Meaningful Use attestation process sometime this year. It is the first private urgent care provider in the nation to achieve NCQA Patient-Centered Connected Care recognition.
What was the impetus for implementing eCW? How do you hope its utilization will benefit CityMD and its patients?
In order for us to take our practice to the next level in providing the best patient-centered medical care and to begin multiple of IT initiatives, we needed an EHR partner that could scale and grow with us. This meant that we needed a national partner who could help us in multiple areas – from optimizing billing, front desk, and clinical operations to gathering business intelligence and obtaining analysis of data to assistance in compliance and reporting of of MU, PQRs, and related quality metrics to introduction of a patient portal, care coordination, and referral management tools – to improve the patient experience and increase our ability to serve with kindness.
Where is your organization with Meaningful Use?
Meaningful Use is projected to start sometime in 2016. Due to the multiple changes in MU, we have found it very challenging to initiate this project due to layers and layers of complexity. It was not designed well, and CMS has already announced that MU will go away and merge into MIPS by 2019. With that said, the financial penalties attached to this project means we will have to attempt this.
What sort of healthcare technology adoption/implementation challenges are unique to urgent care practices?
Many of the quality initiatives such as PQRS, CAHPS or MU do not have urgent care in mind. They are geared towards primary care or hospital-based practices. Many of the challenges in healthcare technology stem from the fact that systems do not talk to each other, evolve very quickly and/or become outdated, and many healthcare systems cannot agree on the same standards, which makes it very difficult for our practice to determine best practice.
How has CityMD handled the transition to e-prescribing in New York?
The transition to e-prescription has been relatively smooth since ECW and the operations team at CityMD had time to prepare. Overall, there were few complaints or issues from the patients and providers.
What’s next on the horizon for CityMD in terms of new healthcare technologies, particularly those that will better enable patient engagement?
There are many healthcare IT initiatives planned for this year. We plan on continuing our PQRS, CAHPS, and MU reporting. We are starting PCP notification, referral management, integration with other EHRs, expanding our patient portal capabilities, implementing kiosks and mobile technology, and diving into telehealth.