Qualifications for award include demonstrated results in safety, affordability and convenience for patients
Novant Health received the prestigious Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Stage 7 Ambulatory Award for its adoption and use of an electronic health record (EHR). One of only six systems in the country – and the first in the Carolinas - to attain the highest level of EHR use, this award represents the successful transformation of care in Novant Health’s more than 350 physician clinics across three states.
“Receiving the HIMSS Stage 7 Ambulatory Award is a great achievement for not only our organization but for our patients as well,” said Dave Garrett, Novant Health senior vice president and chief information officer. “We have leveraged our EHR as a catalyst for system-wide transformation, and because of this, our patients are benefiting from coordinated medical care.”
To qualify for the award, Novant Health had to demonstrate numerous patient benefits resulting from a fully integrated EHR. As Novant Health clinics progressed in EHR adoption and implementation from Stage 0 – a paper chart-based medical record – to Stage 7 – a fully adopted and implemented EHR, patient benefits increased across multiple areas of care including quality, affordability and convenience. To date, only 1.16 percent of the more than 19,085 ambulatory clinics in the HIMSS Analytics U.S. database meet the requirements for Stage 7. Novant Health’s 350 clinics more than double the number of Stage 7 ambulatory facilities already qualified.
As a Stage 7 organization, Novant Health utilizes a variety of EHR features and tools to elevate the quality of care provided and increase affordability. One of these unique features, advanced decision support, achieves both by allowing providers to identify their patients who are in need of or who are overdue for care - ranging from routine tests associated with management of chronic conditions to annual screenings such as mammograms. Providers are then able to proactively reach out to patients to ensure care is given in order to prevent illnesses or conditions where acute care would be needed, which results in a more costly visit for the patient.
“Advanced decision support is one of the coolest features of our fully integrated EHR. Through the reminders and alerts it generates, which are visible to patients through MyChart, I am able to ensure my patients remain healthy through preventative intervention and care,” said Keith Griffin, MD, Novant Health’s medical group co-chief medical information officer. “If I have a diabetic patient who hasn’t had their routine foot exam or lipid profile, both the patient and I receive a reminder that it’s time for the tests. I can then contact my patient, remind them it’s time for their check-up and schedule an appointment with them – all through our confidential EHR.”
Since the implementation of the advanced decision support feature in the EHR, Novant Health has seen an increase in the number of patients coming in for preventative care and disease management interventions, ensuring patients remain healthy and care is affordable by preventing disease escalation and, as a result, avoiding more complex and costly care.
In addition to advanced decision support, Novant Health’s Stage 7 EHR increases quality of care and affordability for patients through integrated medical devices and integrated formulary coverage. Integrated medical devices automatically send results, such as those from an EKG or a spirometry test, directly into a patient’s medical record, eliminating the opportunity for human error in printing and sending the test to a provider. Integrated formulary coverage pulls in a patient’s insurance information when a medication is electronically prescribed, allowing the provider to see if the medication is covered by the patient’s insurance and, if so, what the relative expense will be for the patient. If the prescription is not covered by the patient’s insurance, the provider can assess alternative, more affordable options.
Another unique benefit of a Stage 7 organization is the ability to share medical record across health systems. Through programs such as Care Everywhere and Community Connect, Novant Health providers have electronically exchanged medical information with clinics from New York to Oregon. The ability to share information is a benefit to patients who might be away from home when care is needed or to those who just began seeing a Novant Health provider by ensuring the care team has the patient’s most up-to-date medical information. Community Connect is a program allowing independent clinics to use Novant Health’s EHR and to integrate with Novant Health systems. The integration enables information to flow seamlessly from Novant Health clinics implementing Community Connect and vice versa.
Of all the benefits resulting from a Stage 7 fully integrated EHR, perhaps the most patient-friendly of them is MyChart – a feature that allows patients to access their medical record and manage their healthcare online. Through MyChart, patients are able to conveniently schedule appointments, email their care team, request prescription refills and participate in video visits (a secure video appointment between a provider and an established patient).
“Patients love MyChart,” said R. Henry Capps, Jr., MD, Novant Health’s medical group co-chief medical information officer. “More than 200,000 Novant Health patients are MyChart users, and in the last year alone, more than 15,000 appointments were made with this tool. It is just another way Novant Health is making access to care simpler and more convenient.”
Through the successful implementation, adoption and optimization of its electronic health record, Novant Health is delivering on its promise to provide world-class technology that supports high-quality, affordable and convenient care. To directly schedule an appointment with a Novant Health primary care provider or to register for MyChart, please visit MyNovant.org. For more information on HIMSS Analytics, please visit HIMSSAnalytics.org.
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