The Hattiesburg Clinic and the University of Mississippi Medical Center are joining forces to ensure that patients receive the highest quality of care. The medical organizations will do this through the innovative use of electronic health records.
Hattiesburg Clinic, which is the state’s largest private multi-specialty medical group, will share its knowledge in the use of the Epic electronic health record in efforts to build more efficient and higher quality systems of care.
“UMMC and Hattiesburg Clinic share the greater vision of improving health care for all Mississippians,” said Dr. Charles O’Mara, UMMC professor of surgery and associate vice chancellor for clinical affairs. “That’s what this is all about.”
“We are partnering to develop an infrastructure to deliver the highest quality care at the lowest cost to all Mississippians,” said Dr. John M. Fitzpatrick, a board-certified nephrologist and president of the Hattiesburg Clinic Board of Directors. “The strategies focus on wellness and prevention, better management of chronic diseases using case manager registered nurses, and a variety of registries to identify care gaps in the various populations.”
As part of a service agreement between the two, Hattiesburg Clinic will train a group of UMMC employees and direct patient care providers in the use of “Healthy Planet,” a module that collects and aggregates patient data. This gives doctors, nurses, social workers, and other health care providers the electronic tools to better coordinate delivery of patient care and to take a much wider view of a patient’s medical history, current issues and ongoing needs.
Hattiesburg Clinic is recognized as a pioneer in optimizing the use of Epic and Healthy Planet, it’s also been recognized by Epic for its creativity, including working with Epic to develop the EHR giant’s version of Healthy Planet. Hattiesburg Clinic was recognized by Epic with its Gold Star 9 rating, the highest current level of any of its customers.
“Hattiesburg Clinic had a significant role in developing and refining Healthy Planet,” O’Mara said. “They’ve also demonstrated a high level of quality in clinical services through their care management approach and their outreach to patients.”
Providers at UMMC, the state’s only academic medical center, will use Healthy Planet to enhance care for entire populations of patients. Patients with diabetes will be seen by Dr. Shannon Pittman, professor and Alma Lowry Hill Chair of Family Medicine.
“Traditionally, we take care of one patient at a time, Pittman said. “But these tools give us the ability to pull up all of our diabetic patients and identify with quality metrics what each patient might be missing. Have they had an eye exam? Have they been screened for certain diseases? We can act, based on that data, with just a few clicks. Not only chronic diseases but wellness and preventive care can be managed through Healthy Planet. With two or three clicks, we can generate a communication to that patient. “We can see who hasn’t had their flu shot or needs to be screened for depression.”
Pittman added, “the beauty of the Healthy Planet tools is that they bring a lot of information into a seamless platform to use to make sure patients have better outcomes, and further optimize the entire health care team so that everyone is working together and using the tools to promote healthy outcomes.”
This joint effort will play an important role in serving Mississippi’s most vulnerable residents, including Medicare and Medicaid patients, UMMC and Hattiesburg Clinic leaders say.
In 2017, Hattiesburg Clinic made perfect scores on quality measures impacting about 20,000 Medicare patients and lowered its total cost of care by $3.9 million.
“Hattiesburg Clinic’s approach to medical care ‘is very similar to ours,” Dr. Charles O’Mara said. “We view this as an opportunity for the state’s only academic medical center to take part in a collaborative effort with a forward-thinking private practice group. It will have benefits for both organizations, and it’s in the best interest of health care for all Mississippians, which is the primary driver.”
Date: February 4, 2019