Electronic health records are a big investment, so it’s not surprising that many providers are both wary of taking on the burden of a transition from paper to EHRs and skeptical that it’s really going to help them provide better care.
That’s where the patient-centered medical home comes in. More specifically, it’s where the PCMH Quality designation outlined by the National Committee for Quality Assurance comes in, as that program is specifically designed to give providers a road map, and a seal of approval, toward improving patient care.
While the effective utilization of EHRs is only one piece of PCMH designation, some providers have found that ensuring that they’re taking advantage of their new EHR also puts them pretty much in alignment with NCQA’s PCMH program.
In Weatherford, Texas, for example, Nusrat Khan, MD, operates MedPeds, a clinic that serves nearly 10,000 patients, and four years ago he decided it was time to take a walk across the digital frontier, a decision which lead, almost inadvertently, to his clinic being recognized by NCQA as a Patient Centered Medical Home Level 3.
“We recognized we were doing a lot of chronic disease management,” he said recently. “And we knew we had to do a better job both with providing better access to care and better management of the care we delivered.”
After surveying the EHR market, Khan went with Amazing Charts, and in the process of implementing their new system, Khan and his office manager, Robbye Penrod, realized that the steps they were already taking to make optimal use of their EHR essentially mirrored the NCQA measures for the PCMH Standard.
“EHRs allow us to do things that, in general, paper records can’t,” Khan said.
For example, EHRs can help: