You look at the ease of implementation, you look at the opportunity to share clinical data for the benefit of their patients and the fact that it doesn’t take an upfront investment; it’s almost a no brainer.
Cook Children’s Healthcare system is probably one of the largest truly integrated pediatric healthcare centers in the country so we have all aspects of care for a child including a medical center, a physician network, a health plan, a home health company and an indemnity corporation and a health foundation.
The reason we chose athena was we were impressed with its flexibility. We liked the fact that it was web-based, that you could access the information from any place wherever you were.
The physicians drove the decision to implement athena here at Cook Children’s.
I had not had a lot of familiarity with Cloud Model Computing but was very interested because I believe it gives an information services department some freedom that we don’t have today with the traditional technology in the server base model that we would have to maintain.
We looked at Epic and we were concerned about its cost, we were concerned about the complexity of an Epic implementation, we were concerned about organizations that had failed Epic implementations. We were concerned about the IT infrastructure necessary to support an Epic implementation so we were concerned about another platform that might not age well with the organization.
We also really liked the company and that the company was very open to not just us being a customer but us being a partner with them in developing an EMR for children in a complicated healthcare system. The ease of implementation of athena was a big deal. Many ambulatory EMRs you’re looking at two to five years of build and implementation before it’s in place. The fact that we were able to bring 1,024 users live on one day sort of speaks for itself.
We have seen tremendous success with rolling out a platform to all of our physician offices in a very short period of time, something that most healthcare institutions don’t do over a ten-year period of time.
We’ve had 100% adoption and the vast majority of the doctors now say that they would not be able to work without it. When I’ve spoken to others about our success here they don’t believe me, it has been that good. Across the organization physicians who aren’t using athena yet have been eager to adopt athena sooner because they see the value in being able to see that one record of the child and everything we know about that child. Today, eight months post live we actually have decreased days in AR by six days. Our collections per encounter are up about 3%.
We used to have a large central billing office whose job it was to collect the physician’s bills and now that has really been reduced markedly.
The granularity of the information that athena provides us is amazing. We now know our organization dramatically better than we did a year ago so we think we’re really well prepared for change and we have a tool that we know can adapt to new environments. We actually are trying to push forward towards an ACO model ahead of the market now rather than retreating from change and being afraid of it and we have the data we need to be able to change as change occurs.
As a CIO, Cloud Computing is an anomaly, it’s scary; it’s something that people don’t understand. I see Cloud Computing as something that sort of allows us to do the next level of what a CIO or an information services department would do, which is focus on the data and the information that we provide back to our caregivers or to our executives to make good sound decisions and more of a real time atmosphere.
For the first time we have all the data that we need to be able to create a lifetime medical record for all of the children that we serve and through that life time record be able to have those children have longer, more productive lives that are less costly to serve from a healthcare perspective. So we think that the future is bright, can’t wait for it.
Cook Children’s Health Care System uses Cloud-Based EHR for Flexibility Physicians at Cook Children’s Health Care System, a 1,200 physician organization spanning 22 states, use athenahealth’s EHR to be...