Hunter Health Clinic Inc., a non-profit community health service located in Wichita Kansas is a HRSA and Indian Health Services (IHS) grantee. Hunter specializes in caring for those who are uninsured and under insured. The Clinic provides medical care, dental services, optometry, mental health counseling, and substance abuse services across five sites.
At the same time, the Clinic serves as a training center for over 180 students, interns, residents, and volunteers. In 2011, Hunter provided over 84,000 patient encounters and saw 33,840 patients where 70 percent were uninsured and 80 percent had incomes below the federal poverty level.
Hunter went live with their EHR in 2009 and has successfully tracked quality measures to improve healthcare quality and patient outcomes. Hunter uses the IHS Resource and Patient Management System (RPMS), a decentralized, integrated solution for the management of both clinical and administrative information. RPMS features hardware, software, a network, and a database all of which work together.
Hunter uses RPMS to support their government reporting requirements. Currently, Hunter routinely reports on 13 required measures. By generating these indicators in real-time, through the use of their RPMS, Hunter has been able to identify successful interventions resulting in measured improvement and has rapidly identified areas for improving preventive care. The clinic has been able to improve their stage 1 Meaningful Use core measures through the use of RPMS to better capture the information reported in the EHR.
Hunter has been using their EHR system to help care for patients with diabetes. The Clinic operates a free standing diabetes specialty clinic as a complement to their primary care services. The diabetes team has two clinicians, a foot specialist, a dietician, diabetes educators, nurses, an optometrist, and an outreach coordinator that provide comprehensive diabetes management. The clinic also supports a diabetes-specific medication program, laboratory services, and preventive dental care for patients with diabetes.
Through the use of the EHR, the optometrist is able to monitor the ocular health of the patient and schedule appointments when new symptoms are noted or if too much time has elapsed since the patient’s last visit. Also, when the optometrist suspects that a new patient may have diabetes, the patient can generally be seen in the clinic the same day.
Being able to see how the technology benefits patients has made it possible for the staff at Hunter to see the value of health IT. Hunter plans to join the Wichita Health Information Exchange and Kansas Health Information Exchange to enable them to share data with other providers across the state.