by Ray Otake
Congratulations to all of our health centers! All the CHCN clinics have gone live with NextGen electronic practice management system hosted at the secure MTS data center. Work is now turning towards the implementation of electronic health records (EHR).
The CHCN clinics join over 60 community clinics in California running NextGen. NextGen is the most popular system for California CHCs, having proven most able to meet the billing and reporting requirements of California community clinics.
A key feature of the CHCN health center NextGen implementations has been the collaboration and sharing between the clinics. There have been weekly calls of the project management and technical staffs of the clinics for the past year to learn from each other and to coordinate implementations. Where possible, resources have been shared to conduct training, build data interfaces, share technical lessons, and work together with NextGen and other vendors.
An example of shared experience has been the contributions from the staff at Axis Community Health who were the first in running the NextGen practice management system, and now are paving the way for the NextGen electronic records implementations. In April Axis successfully launched a pilot implementation for EHR with 2 providers at their Livermore site, and then in June extended EHR use to all the Livermore providers. The EHR implementation has comprised all the major functionality – charting, electronic lab orders and e-prescribing.
A key issue for Axis has been how to plan for the time it takes for providers, staff, and patients to get used to electronic clinical systems. For example, Axis reduced the patient appointments to one patient per hour per provider when they first went live with EHR to accommodate the training of new ways of doing things. Thoughtful financial planning, clinic re-design, and management of the new workflows with an EHR are major challenges.
Other clinics are working toward their EHR launches as well. Currently LifeLong Medical Care and West Oakland Health Council are scheduled to go live with a pilot launch in the summer, while the other clinics are planning for launches later in the year.
For more information please contact CHCN’s Dr. Melissa Marshall, Chief Medical Officer; Mark O’Leary, EHR Director; or Ray Otake, Chief Information Officer.