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It's All About Connections

February 1, 2007
by root
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Hendricks Regional Medical Group is tying its practice groups together.

Executives at the Hendricks Regional Health Medical Group (HRHMG) — the medical network associated with Hendricks Regional Health, located just west of Indianapolis — needed to connect and streamline their 19 medical practices, which included primary care and specialties such as orthopedics, neurology and ophthalmology. Dennis barger

The solution they've selected is Westborough, Mass.-headquartered eClinicalWorks electronic medical record (EMR) solution and practice management (PM) system.

Instead of hiring a consultant to choose the right vendor, HRHMG created a special committee. From its almost 60 physicians, the Indiana medical group handpicked a team of 25 that included doctors, coders and front office workers. "We brought in who we thought were going to be the users and the decision makers, and steered the process," says Dennis Barger, HRHMG vice president of physician practice management.

After 12 months, five vendor presentations, physician-to-physician phone calls, and site visits to meet local users, the healthcare organization put out a request for quotation to three of the five vendors. "As it shook out, eClinicalWorks just kind of bubbled to the top," Barger says. Though eClinicalWorks' product was least expensive, it was the system's flexibility that made the sale, Barger says. The EMR/PM system is "very intuitive, where information is actually pushed out to you versus you having to go out and find it," he says.

Since the solution is Web-based, on-call physicians "will be able to pick up the mouse and look on their computer and kind of see what's been going on," Barger says. Faxing charts and phoning for prescriptions or lab results will be eliminated.

"Where there is a medical record on the shelf now, (with the new system) they are going to have a computer in their hands," he says. "It's going to be a sea change." The first four practices are scheduled to go live in April.

Barger says involving the medical staff in any new software selection is key, as is giving due diligence to a system-wide change. "It's going to be a learning curve, but we'll get there," he says. "We'll look back in two years and say, 'Gee, how the heck did we ever do this before?' At least that's what I'm telling the docs."

Author Information:

Stacey Kramer