Putting EHR in a Starring Role
Putting EHR in a Starring Role | EHR, Tennessee Medical Association’s Tennessee Foundation for Quality Patient Healthcare, TMA, BlueCross Blue Shield of Tennessee Health Foundation, Q Source, Russ Miller, Dawn Fitzgerald, Calvin Anderson, Angie Madden, tnREC , Inga Himelright, Edward McBride, adoptEHR.com,

A group of healthcare leaders gathered at the TMA headquarters to preview one of the new EHR videos.
TMA Videos Showcase Advantages of EHR Adoption

 A series of video presentations encouraging Tennessee healthcare providers to adopt electronic health record (EHR) technology is now available for viewing by physicians, other healthcare providers, and patients across the state.                                                      

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The formal announcement of the educational project was made at the Tennessee Medical Association (TMA) headquarters in Nashville in late March with the videos anticipated to be posted online by early May. TMA’s Tennessee Foundation for Quality Patient Healthcare and the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation (THF) jointly sponsored the video project.

The program announcing the venture included QSource CEO Dawn Fitzgerald, THF Executive Director Calvin Anderson, TMA CEO Don Alexander, TMA Executive Vice President Russ Miller, TMA Director of e-Health Services Angie Madden, and representatives of the Tennessee Regional Extension Center (tnREC).

Miller said the TMA is “excited about the promises of a truly connected network, which starts with EHR. Incentives are not enough, physicians need to see true benefits to their patients to capture and analyze data and reduce redundancies. This is why we took on this project.”

At the conclusion of the presentation, representatives of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST) presented a check for $110,000 in funding for production of the videos. The six videos showcase the benefits of EHR adoption and demonstrate ways electronic data could improve safety, quality and overall patient care.

Miller noted, “These videos feature helpful information, lessons learned … and ‘road stories,’ if you will … about successful EHR adoption from the viewpoint of experts who are leaders in their field and who have gone through the process.”

Officials recognized the struggle it is for many physicians to meet the federal government’s requirements for EHR adoption and meaningful use. The challenges to a medical practice to maintain present-level patient flow while evaluating and adopting new (and rapidly changing) technologies and vendors can be daunting. Miller pointed out some of the roadblocks to broad adoption include the lack of standard data formats, unpredictable and unreasonable cost of software upgrades, global inclusion of governmentally-required benchmarking and reporting tools, and the ease … or lack thereof … of utilization to improve patient care.

Despite those barriers, however, EHR ultimately holds many promises for enhanced quality of care and reduced costs.

Inga Himelright, MD, chief medical officer for BCBST, noted, “Electronic health records are a quick and efficient way for doctors to deliver and improve patient care. They’re such an important tool impacting the relationship and care outcomes between doctor and patient that this video outreach was a project we were proud to support.”

The six videos include content provided by the TMA and tnREC, Tennessee’s health information technology regional extension center. The series covers a variety of EHR topics and resources and are available online at www.adoptEHR.com. Five of the videos are physician-focused with the sixth being aimed at patients. Topics include:

§       Working Smart, Not Hard,

§       Aligning Your Practice for Future Health,

§       Stopping the Chaos,

§       Glimpse Inside Patient-Centered Medical Home,

§       Privacy and Security, and

§       Patient Benefits.

The experiences of physician practices across the state, as well as comments from Tennessee’s EHR and information technology experts, are included in the presentations.

The videos feature Jon Ewing, executive administrator of the Womens’ Clinic in Jackson; Himelright in her role as BCBST CMO; Wanda Johnson, executive director of the Tennessee Health Information Management Association; James King, MD, Prime Care Medical Center in Selmer; Russ Leftwich, MD, CMIO, State of Tennessee; William Light MD, the Light Clinic in Germantown; Edward McBride, MD, CMO, Summit Medical Group in Knoxville; Robbie Morris, vice president, Ion IT Group in Nashville; J. Fred Ralston, MD, Fayetteville Medial Associates; and Randall Rickard, MD, Family Practice Partners in Murfreesboro.

“I believe physicians go into healthcare because we want to help others, and we truly believe that we deliver good quality care. What the electronic health record allows us to do is to constantly report, document, and improve on the quality of care that we deliver,” McBride said in his video clip. He added, “It’s no longer just about me and how I deliver healthcare. In todays’ environment, it’s about the patient … it’s about patient-centered care.”

As Calvin Anderson pointed out, the hope is the visual impact of the project will strike a chord with providers and patients and help explain the benefits and process of adopting EHR in a way that mere words cannot.

Anderson observed, “Confucius said, ‘I hear and I forget; I see and I understand.’”