September 08, 2016|Categories: Corporate Citizenship
Cloudview Readers: If you’ve been following along on social media or read the first part of the series here, you’ll already know that I have 5 other athenistas here with me in Haiti. There is no way I could have done this all alone! The blog today is from Foster Newcome, a member of our Product Innovation team at athenahealth. She works with our onboarding teams,but has never been to a go-live before. This is also her first time in Haiti. Enjoy her perspective on our go-live day at Klinik Fonfred below! -Jamie
After a long, bumpy, and hot 6-hour drive from Port-au-Prince, the team and I finally arrived in Les Cayes, our home in western Haiti this week as we bring Klinik Fonfred live on athenahealth’s network.
There are two staffers at Klinik Fonfred whom my team and I couldn’t do this without. One is Klinik Fonfred’s manager extraordinaire, Evens. Our other right-hand consultant in this implementation is Junior from the Gaskov Clerge Foundation, a nonprofit and philanthropic organization dedicated to developing and promoting resources for preventive healthcare in Haiti. Junior has been helping us remotely since we first identified Klinik Fonfred as an athenaGives beneficiary. Weeks later, and it was finally go-live day at Klinik Fonfred. Much has built up to this moment.
I wanted to come on this trip for many reasons: to witness healthcare in a setting removed from where most of athenahealth’s 80,000 other providers practice, and to help bring the power and connection of the ‘network effect’ to a clinic that operates in almost complete isolation. athenaGives’ mission is to leverage athenahealth's network, knowledge, and work for good, and I can think of no greater beneficiary than Klinik Fonfred. But athenahealth’s place in a remote corner of western Haiti wasn’t always this clear.
At first glance, the value of network-enabled health IT services on a rural, resource-limited clinic were difficult to see. athenaGives’ primary initiative is to provide in-kind donations of our services to free and charitable clinics in the U.S., where the basic infrastructure requires to get online—broadband Internet access and a few computers or mobile devices—can still more or less be taken for granted. How could athena’s network-enabled services help this clinic in a town with unpaved roads, no running water, and only occasional electricity improve patient care? Did they even have Internet? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to donate funds? Medical supplies? Extra doctors? I was looking for something tangible. What I should have realized is that the value of being part of a network can transcend even great distances, even when the conditions are less than ideal, and offer some of the same tangible rewards to clinical care.
Klinik Fonfred does have Internet, and a connection speed to rival many offices in the United States. There are also generators at the clinic, so Internet-enabled technology is reliable. That’s all a clinic needs to tap into the knowledge and insight of athenahealth’s network effect. That level of connection—to data, to patients, and to best practices—is inestimable for a clinic that has been doing its best to go it alone and determine its own best practices, without many guideposts.
Imagine doing all of that, and still charting on paper! That was Klinik Fonfred’s situation until this week. As Junior from Gaskov Clerge expressed his gratitude, I was reminded just how monumental the taking patients’ records out of filing cabinets is. “I’m so glad you guys are here,” Junior sighed during our first team meeting. “I didn’t know where I was going to fit more filing cabinets.”
As of Tuesday, I’m proud to say that patients’ records from Fonfred, Les Cayes, and even as far as Port-Au-Prince aren’t just on the cloud; Klinik Fonfred is an official a member of the athenahealth network.
It all came together quickly and, aside from the rapid-fire translation between English and Haitian Creole, looked like many implementations that happen in small practices around the U.S. everyday. We came into the clinic early to get our bearings, finish some last-minute configurations, and answer questions from the rest of the staff, including clinician Dr. Marsan. We provided everyone with a crash course in athenaClinicals, our EHR, teaching them how to log onto athenaNet and register a patient for the first time. The Internet connection remained strong, and before long, we were witnessing a staff unaccustomed to electronic documentation become masters at registration, log-in, and charting. There were cultural and linguistic idiosyncrasies to be addressed, of course. What to enter under a “date of birth” field for a patient who doesn’t know his birthdate? Patients were confused when they didn’t have a prescription to take in their hands to the onsite pharmacy.
Ultimately, these challenges are addressable. And fortunately, Klinik Fonfred’s staff understand the value of going digital, from providing better care to helping the clinic develop professionally and build capacity. Indeed, Klinik Fonfred has big plans: a lab for point of care testing is opening in October, and an operating room will hopefully stand in the grassy field behind the clinic soon. athenahealth is setting Klinik Fonfred up for long term growth and success, with the data and insight they’ll be able to track outcomes and quality, report out on their performance for their funding organizations, and manage growth successfully.
With dozens of patients entered into the system, next came the patient visits. Before long, Dr. Marsan had closed his first encounter. There were some tears involved, but thankfully, they were short-lived and belonged only to our one year old patient, Jodna, pictured below.
Klinik Fonfred cares for patients all over the south western part of Haiti, and in this way, athenahealth is now honored to be part of the health and well-being of the community, as well. Welcome to the network, Klinik Fonfred.
Follow @jamie_athn on Instagram for more images of go-live day at Klinik Fonfred.