McKenzie County Healthcare System, Presentation Medical Center and Midgarden Family Clinic Recognized as Leaders in Implementation of EHRs
North Dakota health care provider McKenzie County Healthcare Systems was recognized Thursday, December 29, 2011, by the Regional Extension Assistance Center for Health Information Technology (REACH) for its leadership in the nationwide transition toward electronic health records (EHR). REACH is the regional extension center designated by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to assist clinicians in Minnesota and North Dakota on becoming meaningful users of electronic health records. REACH is pleased to welcome McKenzie County Healthcare Systems into an exclusive group of leaders – the Meaningful Use Vanguard (MUV).
McKenzie County Healthcare Systems is a 24-bed critical access hospital in Watford City, North Dakota, with a rural health clinic. It is the first critical access hospital in North Dakota to successfully attest to meaningful use, meeting the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) criteria that indicate providers are successfully using their EHR to improve patient care.
McKenzie County Healthcare Systems will receive one of the first incentive payments made under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments are available to eligible professionals and hospitals when they adopt, implement, upgrade, or demonstrate meaningful use of a certified electronic health record. Hospitals can qualify for payments of $1 million or more.
"Meaningful use" means "providers need to show they're using certified EHR technology in ways that can be measured significantly in quality and in quantity," according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website. The implementation of health information technology reduces errors and allows alerts for concerns like allergies or drug interactions.
“We’ve made meaningful use a priority within our system. The incentive for hospitals and physicians to achieve meaningful use status is an advantage to patients in that it improves the care we offer to our patients as it provides more timely, effective and cost effective patient care by requiring caregivers, providers, hospitals and doctors to electronically enter information such as care plans and drug orders by computer,” said Daniel Kelly, CEO, McKenzie County Healthcare Systems.
“Our whole hospital and clinic staff have focused on making best use of our Healthland electronic health record and in turn being able to gain meaningful use status. As a result of our efforts, we are able to provide better patient care,” added Kelli Hammeren, clinical informatics technician, McKenzie County Healthcare Systems.
Joining REACH in honoring McKenzie County Healthcare Systems at the event were representatives from the North Dakota Hospital Association, the Center for Rural Health and the North Dakota Health Information Technology Department.
North Dakota health care provider Midgarden Family Clinic is the first clinic in North Dakota to successfully attest to meaningful use, meeting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements for successfully using an EHR to improve patient care. REACH is pleased to welcome Midgarden Family Clinic into an exclusive group of leaders – the Meaningful Use Vanguard (MUV).
"To be the first clinic in the state to reach this milestone is a thrill,” says Dr. Kristi Midgarden. We have the quality staff that has been able to get this project done. “It shows that small rural facilities can participate in the state and nationwide effort to modernize health information technology. (EHR implementation) will help make healthcare more efficient and control cost.”
Dr. Midgarden noted, “We have seen many benefits with the system. We have the clinic notes within minutes instead of days. All lab and x-ray reports are placed into the EHR and are available at a glance and can be graphed. We believe that preventative care is very important and we have formulated preventative care flow sheets so we can go to one place in the EHR to see what is due. We also utilize the e-prescribing software which helps physicians, pharmacists and patients ensure that allergies, correct doses and medication interaction can be tracked and verified. The patient’s past medical history, problem list, surgical history, allergies, and medication list can promptly be sent to consulting specialists because this information is always part of each clinic note. All of these things can improve the quality of care for patients, which has always been our most important goal.”
Midgarden Family Clinic is located in Park River, ND. The clinic was founded on April 13, 2009. Midgarden Family Clinic is committed to provide quality services and continuity of care while serving the needs of our patients and families.
Minot Daily News - Presentation Medical Center in Rolla, ND celebrated their meaningful use attestation achievement recently as well. “An electronic health record (EHR) system can cost a medical facility over $1 million to implement,” said Michael Pfeifer, CEO of Presentation Medical Center. “This incentive payment will help our organization off-set some of the costs so we can continue to provide quality care to the patients we serve.”
The incentive payment program provides payments to eligible hospitals and medical professionals to enable them to implement an EHR and move toward electronic health information exchange that may improve care for all North Dakotans. “EHRs benefit the patient by making their medical information available so it can be shared in real-time regardless of where the patients go for care,” said Nancy Willis, Medicaid Systems Operations and Health Information Technology Director for North Dakota. “It helps the patient’s provider coordinate care with other providers involved in the patient’s care to ensure they receive high quality care. We congratulate Presentation Medical Center for investing these dollars on technology that helps improve patient care.”
The North Dakota and Minnesota Regional Extension Assistance Center for Health Information Technology (REACH) provided consulting services to the rural medical center for this work.
MUV is an initiative of ONC, and is designed to honor, thank, and bring together clinicians from clinics and hospitals, like those at Glacial Ridge Health System, who have successfully implemented electronic health records. MUVers (members of the MUV program) serve as local leaders and advisors in the nation’s transition toward an electronically-enabled health care system.