Unlike many physician practices that have qualified for financial incentives, the physicians of Youngsville Medical Clinic were recent adopters of the EHR technology. Deborah Vidos, LPN, Office Manager, described the practice’s reasons for selecting and implementing their EHR system in April 2010. In July 2011, the practice received the full incentive payment, adding financial returns to the many clinical benefits already realized by the EHR. Read this story to find out how they also realized more accurate and complete clinical documentation and facilitation of continuous improvement activities.

Pilot takes diabetes care to the cloud

A pilot project announced on Feb. 14 will test the impact of a cloud-based quality improvement program on physicians who treat patients with diabetes and associated cardiovascular disease (CVD). Collaborators on the project are the American College of Physicians (ACP) and Pittsburgh-based CECity, a provider of cloud-based applications and distribution networks.

The one-year pilot program, “Improving the Quality of Diabetes Care,” will tailor CECity's MedConcert performance improvement platform with diabetes and cardiovascular disease prevention content. The pilot will analyze how the technology affects physician participation and its value to practices, as well as physician learning and patient outcomes.

More than 11 percent of adults in the United States -- an estimated 26 million people -- have diabetes, which is associated with multiple complications and co-morbid conditions, including cardiovascular disease, ACP noted.

“This initiative will provide important data to help us determine the feasibility of recruiting physician offices to participate in an integrated, technology-based quality improvement program and assess facilitators and barriers,” said Michael S. Barr, MD, MBA, FACP, who leads ACP's Medical Practice, Professionalism & Quality division, in a prepared statement. “The data also will enable us to assess the ease of adopting this type of technology into the workflows of physician practices and whether it correlates with improved care processes, patient satisfaction and patient outcomes.”

ACP said up to 50 internal medicine practices in three states in the pilot will have access to the following web-based tools:

  • The ACP diabetes registry based on the 2013 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) Diabetes Measure Group and related data elements.
  • Patient surveys to provide feedback on system and provider performance, including information about coordination of care and communication.
  • ACP’s Medical Home Builder 2.0, an online community providing practice teams with a self-assessment tool to improve patient care, streamline fundamental business operations, and identify and implement key features of the patient-centered medical home.
  • Providers eligible for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' PQRS incentives will have the option to submit their report through PQRIwizard, an online tool for physician quality reporting.

During the pilot, physicians will be able to access MedConcert’s secure social networks to engage in peer-to-peer clinical communities that enable patient coordination of care and real-time communications for sharing best practices, according to ACP. MedConcert also houses a library of diabetes and CVD resources and educational materials, including patient education tools, linked to specific gaps in performance identified in the registry data, which will also be available to participants.

A report on the results of the pilot quality improvement program is expected by the end of the year, ACP said. The Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health will conduct the program evaluation.