Children's IQ Network®
Pediatricians share their experiences.
Since its launch in 2009 the Children’s IQ Network has successfully implemented Electronic Health Records in pediatric practices throughout Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. Several practices have shared their experiences regarding readiness for EHRs, why they chose Children’s IQ Network, lessons learned, and the benefits of participating in the Network.
Dr. Cindy Fishman, Children First Pediatrics. Offices in Silver Spring and Rockville, Maryland
Children First Pediatrics went live with the Children’s IQ Network in April 2009. The practice was looking at EHRs for more than three years and ultimately selected eClinicalWorks. Dr. Fishman felt eClinicalWorks was the most pediatric-friendly and was particularly appropriate for “non-techies”. Children’s National’s selection of eClinicalWorks for the Children’s IQ Network helped validate the choice. Once they were made aware of the Children’s IQ Network financial incentive “it became a no-brainer”.
In anticipation of EHR implementation Children First Pediatrics had hoped for lighter patient schedules, however they went live during the initial outbreak of H1N1 Influenza. Although it wasn’t the ideal situation for a major change, ultimately the practice became comfortable with the EHR software.
Dr. Fishman is particularly pleased with being part of a network. She feels that she hasn’t been alone in the implementation of EHRs. Other Children’s IQ Network participating practices have helped with support and enhancing EHR functionality. She feels that Children’s National has helped break down walls between practices in deploying the IQ Network.
According to Dr. Fishman, the ultimate benefit of participating in Children’s IQ Network has been better health care. Practice staff is much more synchronized in the care of patients. In addition she sees the potential for improvements in patient tracking and billing. “This will improve our ability to capture, document, and charge for all procedures”.
Children First Pediatrics is currently implementing the Patient Portal feature of eClinicalWorks. Parents can now make and check the status of appointments online. Ultimately they will have access to immunization records, growth charts, and prescription refills. When fully deployed the portal will allow for improved communications between practitioners and patients.
Dr. Fishman is particularly looking forward to the Regional Data Hub/Health Information Exchange application of Children’s IQ Network. “In health care you need to prove you’re doing good work. Aggregated data will go much further than word-of-mouth between other docs.” In addition, the planned electronic linkage with Children’s National will allow for much more immediate information on her patients and she will definitely be taking advantage of this functionality.
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Dr. Lisa Rainey- Alexandria, Virginia
Dr. Rainey had experience with EHRs prior to opening her own practice. After doing some “window shopping” she was concerned about exorbitant costs, particularly for a small practice.
Dr. Rainey was first made aware of Children’s IQ Network at a Children’s National Health Network conference. The fact that Children’s National and community pediatricians went through a rigorous process in the selection of eClinicalWorks made her quite comfortable with this choice. Ultimately she felt that the cost of Children’s IQ Network made her selection easy. Based upon the significant discounts offered, joining Children’s IQ Network was “extremely affordable, even for a small practice”. In addition, Dr. Rainey selected A&T Systems for her EHR hardware based upon the group discount negotiated for Children’s IQ Network.
Dr. Rainey’s practice went live with EHRs in August 2009. Implementation was on schedule and went smoothly. Among particular benefits of eClinicalWorks is the degree to which software templates can be modified based upon how she treats her patients. In addition, she appreciates the ability to access a wealth of patient information on screen without having to close the patient chart.
Dr. Rainey is looking forward to planned enhancements to Children’s IQ Network, particularly the ability to share EHR patient info with Children’s National. It’s a “big, big plus” as it will greatly enhance patient care.
Overall she feels that implementing Children’s IQ Network in her practice has been well worth doing. “It takes time in the beginning—like riding a bicycle. But once you have it down, it’s great”.
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Dr. Tom Sullivan, ALL Pediatrics. Offices in Alexandria, Lorton, and Woodbridge, Virginia
The first practice to “go live” on the Children’s IQ Network, Dr. Sullivan was featured on NBC News (LINK HERE) with Children’s National’s Chief Medical Information Officer, Brian Jacobs, MD, in a segment discussing the adoption and benefits of Electronic Health Record technology.
Sheryl Davis, RN, Director of Nursing, and Deborah Weese, Practice Administrator at ALL Pediatrics, shared some of their experiences in selecting and implementing Children’s IQ Network. Although financial incentives originally contributed to their interest in the IQ Network, they see the most meaningful benefit is being part of an integrated EHR with Children’s National and other providers. According to Weese, there is a “firm belief that the evolution of EHRs needs to allow for shared information between practices and referral networks. All providers will have easier, quicker access to the information they need which will no doubt result in better outcomes.” In addition, aggregated regional healthcare data will contribute to improved quality of care. As an example, this can allow for a comparison of treatments and outcomes for a variety of conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and ADHD. They see benefits in belonging to a local user group, and hope to see “user-group clout” in negotiating fee schedules with insurers.
ALL Pediatrics initially took a two step approach to implementation. Months prior to implementing the eClinicalWorks EHR they implemented the associated practice management software. This allowed physicians and staff to become acquainted with the key patient information access points within eClinicalWorks, as well as its general interface and coding features prior to the implementation of the EHR component. Davis and Weese recommend other practices consider this approach. The practice has also taken a gradual approach to implementing EHRs. They wanted a “painless” transfer of information, so data input will be taking place over a two year period.
ALL Pediatrics has seen significant impact on patient care since implementing Children’s IQ Network. According to Weese, “For the first time in this practice’s 40 year history we have immediate access to medical records in any of our offices. This allows for greater continuity of care. We’re not wasting a lot of time chasing paper. Nothing’s out of order. There is better documentation of patient care. Everything has improved.”
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