Davies winner: EMR an asset, not an expense
“The number of applicants in the ambulatory care category continues to grow each year,” said David Collins, senior manager of the Davies Award program. “The industry recognizes the importance of these awards. The review committee spends a lot of time on the site visits going through a finalist’s workflow before voting on winners.”
Collins said the committee recognized immediately that Village Health was a very “forward-thinking” practice, with an entrepreneurial spirit.
The practice has expanded to larger offices, and now employs seven physicians.
“They run a pretty efficient ship,” Collins said. “Christopher is a ‘super-user’ of the system, and has been a national leader on GE’s Centricity EMR. The practice does lots of electronic messaging between patients and physicians, and they manage a lot of their administrative work through the EMR and practice management system.”
Indeed, Village Health has never employed a practice administrator – a fact of which Crow is particularly proud.
“We’ve cut our staff per provider ratio in half since implementation,” said Crow. “While you do get less productive during the transition to an EMR, we saw lots of clinical efficiencies within a few months. Our system gives us decision support at the point-of-care, and we have begun to proactively manage patients’ health rather than waiting for them to come into the office.”
Crow admits transitioning to an EMR may be challenging for physicians, as doctors are not taught “change management” in medical school. But he says the move is worth the struggle.
“Physicians are very single-minded, we fall into patterns,” Crow said. “You can do more with an EMR, but to succeed there must be a physician champion. The leadership necessary to take an organization through a change process must come from the top.”