Dr. Irene Silva, a solo internist in the Streeterville neighborhood, became the first CHITREC primary care physician to complete the implementation of electronic health records and attest. She completed her final demonstration of meaningful use this week.
“We went right through it,” Dr. Silva recalled. “I didn’t think it would be a possibility.” She praised her CHITREC representative, Kathy FitzGibbon, RN, for helping ensure Silva had all of the information she needed to complete each question on the online attestation forms. The process only took 90 minutes, she said.
“Looking back, I can’t even imagine how I used to practice medicine prior to EHR,” Dr. Silva said.
CHITREC is a Regional Extension Center designated by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to assist clinicians in Chicago on becoming meaningful users of electronic health records. CHITREC delivers education, training, tools and assessments to help primary care providers achieve meaningful use of EHRs.
CHITREC currently assists several hundred clinicians in Chicago, and Dr. Silva is the first to receive the $18,000 incentive payment made under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. If you ask Silva, however, the biggest rewards aren’t monetary.
“The quality of care is tremendous,” Silva said. “We do millions of tests, and things can get overlooked.”
Now? “Things don’t get missed.”
She likes that patients can go right into their charts and help update information. She has even been able to reduce the number of office workers from three to two.
The biggest pro: “The support you get for the company.” Silva chose eClinicalWorks and called the system user friendly and affordable. “I think the program is pretty complete,” she said. “You can do anything you want. It’s a very, very comprehensive program.”
She was also quick to compliment the CHITREC staff for their educational component, especially on issues of security.
Silva highly recommended the process to doctors thinking about using CHITREC’s services.
“I know a lot of the doctors are petrified to start. It’s time consuming but it’s so well worth it,” Silva said. “Make sure everything is accurate. It’s a lot of work at the beginning, but in the long run it’s so well worth it.”