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CloudView blog

Ideas and insights to help health care providers stay informed and profitable in today's challenging health care environment.

athenaGives Heads to Haiti

by Jamie Mercurio, Senior Manager, athenaGives

Sitting on my JetBlue flight catching up on the morning news makes this trip feel like any other business trip I’ve taken at athenahealth.  This one is a bit more special, however.

I’m en route to Les Cayes, Haiti to work with a young clinic in the community named Klinik Fonfred. The clinic is a collaboration between two nonprofits, The Gaskov Clerge Foundation and Forward in Health. Fittingly, both have ties to athenahealth providers. 


The first thing people ask when they learn I’m going (back) to Haiti is how far I'll have to travel. Their question is understandable. Haiti, one of poorest countries in our hemisphere, feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of our Watertown campus. Most are shocked to learn that Haiti is about as far as our offices in Austin and San Francisco. In fact, Klinik Fonfred staff have connected to our online onboarding meetings faster than many athenahealth employees in those cities. 

The one question none have asked - How will the clinic have access to athenaClinicals? - is a testament to the power of our network-enabled services. Yes, they might need a generator to power the router, but that’s it. And that’s the benefit of a true cloud solution: it’s accessible anywhere with an internet connection.

The clinic has decided to use athenaClinicals to better track patient records and outcomes, provide better managed care, and perhaps most importantly, enable them to treat even more people. Health in Haiti has been in the news quite a bit lately, from the lengthy debate on the UN’s involvement in a deadly cholera epidemic, the months-long hospital worker strike which thankfully just ended, to the curious lack of Zika diagnoses. (Spoiler: Haiti has reported only 5 cases.) It’s clear there is a need for quality health care. 

Klinik Fonfred focuses on primary care and even offers an arrangement where, for an annual fee, they will become a preferred provider for the patient. In addition to permanent staff, they supplement care with medical mission trips that provide not only much needed services, but also medical training and capacity building. A trip earlier this year focused on OB/GYN care and trained clinic staff to provide Pap smears.

This trip, my second to Haiti, is special because I’m able to bring five colleagues along to assist, instruct, and observe. The response from athenahealth employees when I put out a call for applications was overwhelming. We have a culture of teachers and learners who jumped at the opportunity to give up the comforts of home and a holiday weekend not only to teach the clinic staff about athenaNet, but to learn about a health care system and a culture that they don’t get to experience every day.

If you’d like to follow along with our journey, keep an eye on the blog this week for stories from the team and follow me on Instagram (@jamie_athn) to see a behind the scenes view of go live!

Manager of the athenaGives program.

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Ideas, insights and analysis to help physicians, medical groups and health systems stay informed and profitable in today's challenging health environment.

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