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How an EMR Fits with HIV Patients

by Andrew Scutro, Senior Associate, Communications

You can find the Rosedale Infectious Diseases medical practice in a nondescript cluster of nondescript offices, just off Interstate 77 in Huntersville, NC.

If you get back on the highway and head south you’ll come up on the jutting skyline of Charlotte pretty quickly. Go northbound and you’re on the way to West Virginia. There’s a popular joint around the corner from Rosedale that sells a hamburger for $1.19 and about 40 flavors of milkshake, including something called an Orange Push Up.

The overwhelming bulk of Rosedale’s roughly 2,000 patients are HIV-positive. It has been 30 years since the first report of an AIDS diagnosis and Rosedale exists to help people manage the disease, one that was once deemed a death sentence. Perhaps emblematic of the evolution from that line of thinking is a photo in the waiting room, of Rosedale medical director Frederick A. Cruickshank, MD with basketball legend Magic Johnson.

Rosedale opened its doors in 2006 and uses athenahealth’s practice management service, athenaCollector and  EMR, athenaClinicals. We paid a visit to Rosedale ID earlier this week  to speak with practice manager, Dale Pierce, who’ll be receiving the athenahealth Vision Award at our User Conference in Boston the first week of April. The Vision Award recognizes those who “Make health care work as it should.”

Pierce was nominated by three of his colleagues for his work both in the practice and out in the community. One of them shared that Pierce has made the practice more like a family for patients, rather than just another clinical way station. In her nomination, she says “… as our clinic is a sanctuary for HIV positive patients, Dale has become a light of hope. He is a shining example that people can rise above HIV and live happy healthy full lives.”

We got to talk with two Rosedale patients. Both are HIV-positive. We were pleasantly surprised to hear them talk about how, as patients with complicated care needs, they can appreciate the efficiency an EMR can offer.

For example, one patient was diagnosed 20 years ago and has nearly a dozen doctors. In paper form, her medical records have taken on the heft of a phonebook. But now that Rosedale ID has converted to athenahealth, all that information can be accessed quickly with just a few clicks and keystrokes in the EMR. And she likes that.

You can meet her and Dale and some other folks from Rosedale in an upcoming case study. And stay tuned for dispatches from the other practices we’ve visited recently. If you’re attending the User Conference, watch for our video from Huntersville during the awards ceremony.

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