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Wilson Stream Family Practice in Farmington, Maine is able to sustain a 3-provider, independent community practice with athenahealth's cloud-based EHR athenaClinicals.


My wife and I wanted to come back east, wanted to be in a rural town, wanted to be up north so we had decent winter weather. Wilson Stream Family Practice is a three-provider, freestanding, primary care practice. It is always an inspiration and a pleasure to see you, and I mean that. We are outpatient only, no obstetrics, no hospital work. And so our focus is here. This is a community practice, and that means we take care of everybody in the community, and we try to take care of all the kinds of problems that they have.

I promise.

In the last 10, probably 15 years, it's become much more difficult to make money and yet have the kind of quality and tenor of practice that we always felt was so important. And so when the going got rough for us and revenue was going down, overhead was going up, we thought about joining the hospital. But we always got jerked back by the idea, we really want to run this the way we want to run this.

Exercise your mind as well as your body.

How do you exercise your mind? And we've stuck it out and held on to the independence model.

As I think about the decision to go with athena, it was not the nuts and bolts of the software that made the deal. They really seemed to be motivated in what they were doing. They cared about what we might be doing in our office. And that's what made the deal. I feel like the practice is thriving, because we're no longer alone with our business decisions.

I think the value of an EHR to me is that the information is organized so I can be organized when I go in the room. Number one, I can see very easily what I did last time, which, in a paper chart, is not necessarily easy. And I can look to see what new information has come into the chart. When those things are easily presented to me, that frees me up so that I can direct myself at what the patient's agenda is, because I've already checked off my own agenda.

There are some aspects of the cloud whose advantages I'm only now aware of, but are wonderful. I can decide to take off early in a day, and there's work I can do totally easily from home or somebody else's home. And likewise, the medical assistants, because they can see the same medical information that we do, can look at the chart, so to speak, and formulate their own ideas about what should go on in the visit. And so a lot of things get started before we go in the room, which is just great.

I also feel that from a professional point of view, our office staff are operating at a higher level.

What are we doing for your birthday today?

I feel that time is so much better spent. I'm really taking care of people in a more comprehensive way than I could before. If you can focus on the things that give value to your patients and spend your time on that, that seems like win-win for me, win-win for them. It's more satisfying professionally and intellectually. And in the long run, it's better care.

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