Laptop and Stethoscope

Coastal Medical — An EHR Success Story

Medical practices across the nation are achieving success with Electronic Health Record (EHR) implementations! One example is Coastal Medical: a physician-owned practice based in Providence, Rhode Island, and the recipient of a 2012 Ambulatory HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence.

Coastal Medical has significantly benefited in three key areas: financially, organizationally, and, most importantly, by improving the quality of care they deliver to their patients. Overall, the practice achieved a 200% return on their investment in implementing an EHR.

Coastal Medical employs 91 healthcare providers, and delivers predominantly primary care services to 105,000 adult and pediatric patients. That’s 10% of Rhode Island’s residents! The practice wanted to do a better job documenting the care they provided patients, and a better job following up with patients to make sure they were returning to health. Coastal Medical already had a reputation for providing good care; they wanted to do even better. So, they provided their staff with better IT tools to take the best possible care of patients.

An EHR was the right tool for Coastal Medical. In 2006 and early 2007, Coastal implemented a fully integrated EHR in each of its 19 offices. This implementation meant Coastal could now actually measure the quality of the care being provided to patients, and report it. Coastal Medical participates in the Medicare Shared Savings ACO program and Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) practice transformation.

As a result of their EHR implementation, the care providers at Coastal Medical got to spend more time with patients, and patients experienced a smoother experience when they needed to see a clinician. Another benefit for patients was that — thanks to the EHR — Coastal Medical expanded its office and Saturday hours. Now, patients can come to see a clinician on the weekend, eliminating a potentially long wait in an Emergency Room because no clinic is available.

Coinciding with completion of the EHR adoption in early 2007, Coastal Medical entered into its first pay-for-performance contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI). This contract helps the practice grow its business as BCBSRI makes additional payments to Coastal Medical for providing better care to patients.

We at HIMSS encourage all practices to measure their performance and the quality of care they provide to their patients. At some point in our lives we all will be patients and we deserve the best care possible.

As a clinician or as a patient, how has an EHR improved patient care for you?

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