Coal County Community Health Centers utilize REACH’s services and expertise to help them along the path to achieving meaningful use.
Coal Country Community Health Centers are located in Beulah, Center, and Towner, North Dakota. They provide full medical services, physical therapy, behavioral and mental health services, full laboratory, full radiology, and have recently added chiropractic services in the Towner clinic. They have four physicians, four nurse practitioners, and one physician assistant.
Chastity Dolbec, the Clinic Quality Care Director in Coal Country’s Beulah clinic, explains some of what she and her clinic have experienced during their journey to reaching meaningful use.
They chose to report on diabetes/hemoglobin A1C, diabetes/hemoglobin A1C control, and diabetes/LDL management/control. These measures were chosen because of their large diabetic population. In addition to reporting on these measures, they have added a licensed registered dietician and a diabetic educator, so they can help provide the highest quality care to their patients.
Chastity and the rest of her team tried to figure out which additional measures would be best for their facility to improve on. She shares, “We have a long ways to go in improving [our records]. It’s a work in progress.”
The majority of the identified measures were issues with the EHR. For Beulah, and many other facilities, the technical side of the data entry is a huge challenge. The appropriate codes and orders must be selected to produce accurate results. The key to achieving meaningful use is to put good data in so you get good data out. “Nurses and doctors have to become coders and make accurate diagnoses. It all comes down to making sure you have the correct categories selected so you have the correct data,” Chastity claims.
Beulah is still in the progress of modifying their EHR to collect and retrieve data. They are finding it’s an ongoing process. “We expect the first year you can’t really trust the data coming out. The next year, you hope to have data that’s better, but you might still have some months where your data isn’t correct. By the third year, you should be able to trust that data,” hopes Chastity.
To Chastity, reporting on measures is easy, but it all goes back to making sure the data that’s setup in the beginning is correct. After a year or so, you might realize some of your fields are incorrect. In addition to this, it might be hard for providers to find fields. It’s time consuming and takes away from direct patient contact, but as the Coal Country Community Health Center’s team gets more familiar with their system, it’s becoming better. Thus, they are getting better data which helps them to provide better care for their patients.
Chastity finds one of the greatest benefits of collecting data is the ability to constantly improve the quality of care they provide to their patients. The employees at Coal Country Community Health Centers in Beulah have a goal once they achieve meaningful use, “For our providers to use the data we enter in a meaningful way to improve quality of care.”
Coal Country Community Health Centers heard about REACH and the services REACH can provide to help facilities achieve meaningful use by attending an HIT conference where REACH gave a presentation. Community Healthcare Association of the Dakotas (CHAD) also helped to explain this was a service they could use.
They signed up for all of the REACH services and Chastity shares, “They’ve been a vast knowledge [base] that has been so helpful in what we need to do; in developing the work plan. They include everyone from doctors, to IT, to administration, to nurses. They find out what everyone needs, set goals, and help us achieve those goals. It’s a constant communication. You name it, they can help.”