Practices reach paperless pinnacle

Ambulatory practices reach paperless pinnacle

Bon Secours Health Systems is among the nation's first health systems to be recognized by HIMSS Analytics for having physician clinics attain Stage 7 of the EMR Adoption Model (EMRAM), which charts a path to a fully paperless medical records environment.

Bon Secours Health Systems’ ambulatory clinics that have achieved Stage 7 include 107 providers in 31 practices, according to a HIMSS news release. The Stage 7 ambulatory practices are located in the Richmond and Hampton Roads communities of Virginia, and represent a cross-section of primary care and specialty practices.

“The Bon Secours clinics are virtually paperless on the ambulatory side, with a strong health information exchange capability,” said John Daniels, HIMSS vice president, strategic relations, in a July 8 press release. “The organization is well run and smoothly operated. ConnectCare [Bon Secours' EMR] is seamless for the providers, in terms of coordination between acute care and ambulatory coordination and access to clinical information for both settings."

[See also: Legacy Health achieves Stage 7]

Developed in 2011, the EMR Ambulatory Adoption Model provides a methodology for evaluating the progress and impact of electronic medical record systems for ambulatory facilities owned by hospitals in the HIMSS Analytics Database. Those facilities include physician practices, clinics, outpatient centers and specialty clinics.

Tracking their progress in completing eight stages (0-7), ambulatory facilities can review the implementation and use of IT applications with the intent of reaching Stage 7, which represents an advanced electronic patient record environment.

"Investment in ConnectCare has allowed us to extend patient care beyond traditional physician office models and [ensure] that our care is extraordinary,” said Peter Bernard executive vice president of business development and CEO, Bon Secours Virginia Health System, in a news release.

“Bon Secours Health System’s vision for ‘one patient, one record’ has been integral to our success," added Bernard. "Without the strong leadership of our clinical, operational and technology teams, this elite Stage 7 designation could not have been realized."

The validation process confirms that ambulatory facilities have reached Stage 7. The process includes a site visit conducted by an executive from HIMSS Analytics and a chief information officer and chief medical information officer with ambulatory deployment experience to ensure an unbiased evaluation of the Stage 7 environments.

The validation team visits a representative ambulatory clinic or clinics that deployed the same EMR applications and software. The team conducts both a comprehensive system overview and an analytics review to ensure improved health status indicators and understanding of the effectiveness of the clinics' patient engagement strategy.

As the current data on the ambulatory EMRAM indicates, at the end of the first quarter of 2013, HIMSS Analytics has recognized just under 1 percent of 18,318 ambulatory facilities at Stage 7. HIMSS Analytics recognizes slightly more than 1 percent of ambulatory facilities at Stage 6.