Electronic Health RecordsAll CHCN member clinics are in the middle of their implementation of their new health information computer systems, the NextGen Electronic Practice Management (ePM) and Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems.

As of early April, seven of our eight health centers have installed and are using NextGen’s electronic Practice Management (ePM) which is the patient registration, appointment, and billing components of the system. In May, our largest health center, La Clinica de La Raza will be moving onto ePM. In parallel with the final stages of ePM implementation, EHR planning and training efforts have begun and the first pilot rollout of EHR is scheduled for late April.

As they did in ePM rollout, CHCN health centers are sharing their collective expertise and knowledge in planning the EHR implementation. Combined with utilizing “best practices” of the community health centers with NextGen in California, we hope to make this transition to electronic health records as stress-free as possible.

Converting to Electronic Health Records is a huge exercise in changing the way things are done in a clinic. Workflows in all areas of the clinic change. The health centers recognize that the successful management of this change is critical to the success of the use of the EHR system. Last week, the CHCN EHR clinicians group sponsored an all-day change management workshop that discussed the organizational work and leadership needed to shift from paper information flows to electronic information flows.

This move from old computerized systems and paper medical charts to NextGen’s ePM and EHR systems will take about two years. The care teams inside the clinics will have immediate access to a patient’s complete medical record. Rapid responses to questions being asked will improve the delivery and quality of patient care. Reports will be available to advance Quality Improvement issues.

For more information, please contact Mark O’Leary, CHCN EHR Director moleary@chcnetwork.org, Dr. Melissa Marshall, CHCN Chief Medical Officer mmarshall@chcnetwork.org, or Ray Otake, CHCN CIO rotake@chcnetwork.org.