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Interview

Integrating a Robust Single Platform EMR to Improve Care Quality


February 19, 2019

chris voightChris Voigt, chief technology officer at Privia Health, discusses how a single platform EMR tool, developed by athenahealth, can help improve care quality and why he thinks other practices will begin to implement similar tools.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m passionate about improving the health care delivery experience for patients and providers. I’ve been with Privia since 2012, and in that time have had the opportunity to build out our proprietary platform and help create numerous resources that facilitate a seamless connection between patients and providers while also reducing the administrative burdens on our physicians. 

What is athenahealth’s tool, and how does it work?

Most people would say athenahealth offers an EMR tool, or a practice management system. To Privia, athenahealth offers a robust collection of services and a network of providers that is the underpinning of our proprietary platform. This is the platform we put our doctors on to take care of patients and run their business.

How has Privia Health utilized the athenaCommunicator portal?

We use athenaCommunicator for all our providers nationally. Engaging our patients is critical to our mission. We have one of the highest adoption rates of athenahealth’s enterprise customers - something we’re very proud of, because it allows us to interact with patients fluidly.

What challenges within a health care system does a tool like [this] help address?

As a national independent physician organization with more than 2,000 providers, the athenahealth network of enabled services allows us to deliver many of the tools and technology required to succeed along the transition to value in today’s ever-changing health care landscape. Having a single platform like this is important for us to lead our providers along the journey of the transition to value-based and full-risk care.   

How can an integrated suite of network-enabled tools save staff effort, achieve better outcomes, and improve the health care outcome of patients? Has the integration of this tool improved overall outcomes? Can you highlight differences before and after tool implementation?

We have a sharp team figuring out our strategies and tactics - and population health is a big challenge and athenahealth’s tool is an ideal solution for us.

Take as an example our quality initiatives within our population health strategy. We’re focused on achieving high quality, which in today’s world is measured by monitoring and closing our gaps in care. Focusing on care gaps becomes yet another administrative burden on our practices. So, we took a look and saw that we might be able to close open care gaps by going directly to our patients, asking if they’ve closed the gap themselves (for example, asking if they’ve had a flu shot). There’s a huge advantage here, not the least of which is doctors don’t have to spend time asking those questions, which gives them more time to focus on their patients. 

We’ve had phenomenal success with this Patient Reported Quality Data initiative. In less than one year, our patient reported quality data program collected more than 50,000 patient responses – relating to flu and pneumonia vaccines and breast and colon cancer screenings – saving our health care providers an estimated 60,000 minutes in office time, driving quality scores for payers, and most importantly, closing care gaps for patients. 

Do you think other practices will join and implement tools such as the athenaCommunicator portal? Why? Based on Privia Health’s experience, how can other providers benefit from use of a tool like this?

Yes, engaging patients online is an important part of ‘meeting patients where they are.’ Patients and providers need to remain connected. Providers also need help delivering care to patients when, where and how they want to receive it. At Privia, we’ve extended our athenaCommunicator implementation to further improve our patients’ experience. That said, the core Communicator product has a lot to offer.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

At Privia Health, we’re focused on meeting patients and providers where they are - and that means delivering a frictionless experience through the patient record. Our providers find great value using athenahealth’s tools, and patients maintain a close connection to their health care team. 

We think athenahealths’s offerings are great, but one of the best values is the openness of the entire ecosystem. Whether you talk about the network and liberation of data, or the rich set of capability extensions available in the Marketplace, or the very open and rich athenahealth API set, athenahealth is really well poised to not just be a static “big box” software vendor, but an innovator in an industry that desperately needs meaningful innovation.

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