Seattle Physician Shares Health IT Story in the Nation’s Capital
Dr. Jeff Hummel, MD, MPH, Part of the White House Health IT Town Hall
Seattle, WA (PRWEB) June 18, 2012
Jeff Hummel, MD, MPH, successfully uses electronic health records (EHRs) and is sharing how this technology can help improve patient care with the rest of our nation’s healthcare community. Dr. Hummel is one of 82 healthcare providers from across the country whose progress in health information technology will be recognized this week by the White House and Health and Human Services (HHS) at events in Washington, DC. Dr. Hummel is a practicing physician and medical director for the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center (WIREC) for health information technology at Qualis Health.
At the White House Health IT Town Hall on June 19, 2012, senior White House and HHS officials will discuss progress and barriers to a national Health IT system. The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) is hosting a variety of healthcare professionals to share lessons learned in adopting, implementing, and meaningfully using EHRs. Dr. Hummel and others will discuss leveraging health IT to promote better health in communities, including solutions to health IT barriers such as privacy and security and the challenges of building systems that can “talk to each other.” These providers from across the country have been recognized for their leadership in local efforts that will eventually move the nation toward an electronically-enabled healthcare system.
In addition to discussing the meaningful use of EHRs, providers will likely share their insight on the important role that health IT programs, such as the Regional Extension Centers (RECs), have played in helping them implement EHRs. Over 132,000 primary care providers, almost half in the country, are partnering with RECs to overcome the significant barriers that primary care and rural providers face in EHR adoption.
One of those challenges is delivering a clinical summary to each patient after a visit, which is a requirement for meeting the first stage of Meaningful Use. Dr. Hummel is a practicing internist at the University of Washington Neighborhood Clinics in Seattle. He has been an EHR user and clinical champion since 1998. Yet like most of his colleagues, says Dr. Hummel, “my effort to give my patients clinical summaries at the end of each visit were usually characterized by good intentions that were usually abandoned by mid morning each day in an attempt to stay on schedule.” When he was handed an after-visit summary at the end of a visit to his own primary care physician, he was intrigued. “I spent the next year figuring out how to redesign my clinic workflow so that entering and updating the information for the clinical summary was built into the structure of the visit, and reviewing the clinical summary with the patient became the end of the visit ritual that my patients came to expect. Now over 80% of my patients receive clinical summaries, and I go home on time.”
Through his role at WIREC, together with workflow experts from other RECs, Dr. Hummel took on the job of writing a technical assistance guide for the clinical summary, complete with workflow diagrams and steps for getting started. This work is now being turned into a white paper to share with other RECs so they can help providers across the country both understand the importance of the clinical summary for helping patients remember the key information points from their visits, and modify their workflows so that the clinical summary becomes an integral part of the visit that actually makes the providers day go more smoothly.
Locally, WIREC is working with nearly 3,000 physicians across Idaho and Washington State, and has successfully helped many of them meet the first stage of Meaningful Use. WIREC serves as a direct pipeline to the national Regional Extension Center program, leveraging our connection to a national collaborative of RECs while bringing local expertise to support providers across the region with technical assistance for successful EHR adoption.
Led by Qualis Health, WIREC provides technical assistance, guidance, vendor-neutral EHR adoption services, and information to eligible healthcare professionals to help them achieve meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs) and quality for CMS incentive payments. WIREC was selected and awarded through an objective review process by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). For more information about WIREC, visit http://www.wirecQH.org.