Monday, March 24, 2008

Common Ground Health Clinic Gets An EMR!

It is with great pride and pleasure that I'm able to fill you in on the fact that Common Ground Health Clinic is now Live on an EMR. HIMSS helped in getting a donated EMR to this free clinic to help provide better care for their patients. They completed go live the week of February 18th. I was able to provide training and go-live support and attend Mardi Gras... At least I have my priorities straight right?

What a great experience this has been personally for me to take this client live. Great thanks to everyone at my company for allowing me to participate in this client’s project. I’m really humbled at how hard these volunteers work to provide FREE healthcare to the people of New Orleans.

When I was assigned this account in late December I was told we need to get them live prior to HIMSS the last week of February. I heard they were a free clinic staffed by volunteers and was a little worried about this project. They have a great staff and once I met everyone and saw how dedicated they were I knew they would do a fantastic job!

Common Ground Health Clinic was founded a few days after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. This free clinic started as a street clinic and eventually moved into a local Mosque for a few months before moving across the street to a vacant store located in the Algiers section of New Orleans. Their reach is felt over a 20 mile radius. Healthcare and medications are dispensed from MD’s, NP’s and Nurses who are all Volunteers at the clinic.

Post Katrina many of the normal healthcare channels that provided free or low cost care to the people of New Orleans were closed due to the closing of many local hospitals and clinics. This clinic was started on September 9th by street medics who were basically EMT’s Nurses and Healthcare clinicians that decided to provide free care to people in need.

Since this is a free clinic, this was a radical change from the standard install we do every week. First of all they do not bill the patient. As an Implementer that has implemented EMR’s for over 10 years I’m programmed to naturally seek the best path for our client to seek maximum reimbursement from the insurance company. Everything in our daily life is geared towards coding, and I mean everything. At his clinic there is a completely different approach, everything is provided free of charge and donations are accepted but not necessary. All staff are volunteers which means new people every day. They are staffed with 5 Volunteer MD’s one Full time Nurse Practitioner and 5 volunteer nurses as well as volunteer front desk and office staff, 18 staff in all. The client’s website is located here.

Also a You Tube Video that provides insight into the process of how the clinic started. And the feelings in New Orleans that prompted volunteers to do something for their fellow neighbors. Their Slogan is “Solidarity not charity”. The little clinic that could video shows the Narrator Anne who is the Nurse practitioner. Ed is the Man in the video that works at the front desk now. Both are great people to work with!

The clinic opens at 8:30 AM and is a Walk-in clinic where healthcare and medications are provided on a first come first served basis. Walk-in charts are assigned a number 1 to 30, etc depending on how many people show up and they are seen in sign up order.

The patient is taken through “Intake” where a nurse triages the patient and uses our intake FastTrack to guide them from screen to screen to capture vitals, chief complaint, Allergies, Social History and provide basic labs of a glucose check, if Diabetes is in their Family history, or provide basic immunizations or other in office labs. The patient is then placed back in the waiting area until the MD or NP can see the patient. The MD takes over the chart and provides the additional care. They utilize the Wal-Mart $4 prescription list as their “Formulary” for medications. They also dispense free meds from supplies attained from Drug companies and other health clinics that send in their overstock of free samples. If you are affiliated with a drug company make sure you contact the clinic to see how you may contribute to their project.

The Volunteer doctors are thrilled to be using E-prescribe. They all work in other clinics for their Day job and many use EMR’s but none had e-prescribed before.

Thanks to the Assisting Dr. who mentored the Staff during go live. The Dr. was on site a few days and saw abut 10 patients each day himself in the EMR, and provided a tremendous amount of education and advice to the clinic from his 10 years of using an EMR. David Collins from HIMMS was onsite also and was responsible for gathering donations from my employer and other vendors like Dell, HP, and Fujitsu etc for all the donated equipments to the clinic.

McKesson donated $20,000 in cash. Great Job Big Mc! They have since received a grant to provide health services and with that grant of course comes the need to provide information.

I’m very proud of my company for their role in this project. It was a great day to wear RED when this client went live on our donated EMR system. From the server to the software to the desktop PC’s, Hand Held Fuji tablets, Fuji scanner, HP Laser printer, Cisco Access point etc… All were donated by my company and individual vendors to get this project going. HIMSS took this clinic under their wings and mentored them through to the finish. This is a great example of how my company is giving back to the community.

I was onsite for staff training last week and trained 5 MD’s, 6 Nurses, and 7 office personnel, for a total of 18 volunteers. We started seeing a few patients in the EMR last week and then saw all patients Monday and Tuesday of this week in the EMR. Totals were 18 patients for Labs Monday morning, 20 patients Monday afternoon, 28 patients Tuesday in the clinic. All notes were completed in the EMR 100%!!

The office is doing great and I’m so proud of all the staff and how hard they worked to get this accomplished. This clinic has done a fantastic job of getting ready for the EMR tidal wave that hit them this week. It’s great to work with people who are excited and LOVE what they do every day and are doing it out of compassion rather than for a paycheck.

The clinic is so thrilled to be using a top notch EMR! They marvel every day at just how far they have come from a street clinic on a sidewalk to a full fledged clinic with 5 exam rooms 4 intake areas and even Herbalists on site to provide Alternative medicine.

We are waiting to hear from LabCorp to see if they will supply a Lab Interface… If you have contacts with LabCorp in New Orleans ... Please drop a note and let them know how great a result interface will be for this group. OR better yet a donated LabCorp Phlebotomist and a Bi-directional interface.

If you have other stories similar to this please post them to comments so we can share how EMR companies are giving back to help those clinics who are not able to afford an EMR.

I return the end of April and first of May to complete their project. This just happens to coincide with the Jazz and Blues Festival. Let the good times roll!!

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