Robin Hallquist, M.D., the first individual physician to work with the Regional Extension Center of New Hampshire, recently completed attestation for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Stage One Meaningful Use Certification for Electronic Health Records (EHR), making Dr. Hallquist the first solo practitioner in New Hampshire to achieve this milestone. The Regional Extension Center of New Hampshire (RECNH) provided Dr. Hallquist with support and advisory services throughout Dr. Hallquist’s EHR implementation process to help improve the quality of care for patients in the region.
While many small practices have raised concerns regarding the feasibility and practicality of adopting EHRs, citing cost constraints and implementation difficulties compounded by the challenging economic environment, Dr. Hallquist found the implementation process simple and has seen immediate and significant benefits.
“Converting from paper to electronic health records was never a question, even before Meaningful Use incentives. I saw the benefits EHRs could have on patient care and workflow in my prior experience, so when I opened my own practice, it was just a matter of when I would move to electronic health records and what resources would be available to help me make the transition,” said Dr. Hallquist. ”With the assistance from Littleton Regional Hospital and RECNH, EHR implementation was seamless and has already had a significant impact on the overall efficiency of my practice, allowing me to provide the quality care to my patients that all physicians strive for.”
In addition to improving the overall efficiency of the practice, the EHR implementation also offered increased flexibility in terms of Dr. Hallquist’s ability to interact with patients remotely. The EHR allows Dr. Hallquist to connect with patients through an online patient portal accessible from a smart phone to review and fill prescriptions, order tests and engage with patients directly, which will be a core component of future meaningful use requirements.
As the first physician to enroll in the support and advisory services of RECNH, Dr. Hallquist illustrates the feasibility and rewards of adopting EHRs for all practices throughout the state, irrespective of size. The REC of NH has worked with multiple provider organizations across the state of New Hampshire to quickly and successfully attest to MU through training and consulting services.
“We congratulate Dr. Hallquist for being an early innovator in the state and on this landmark achievement,” said Jeff Loughlin, Executive Director, Regional Extension Center of New Hampshire. “As the first physician to enroll in RECNH’s services, Dr. Hallquist’s attestation also marks a momentous occasion for the RECNH. The RECNH is proud to continue supporting Dr. Hallquist’s efforts to ensure her patients experience the highest quality of care.”
In an effort to bring higher quality and safer care to patients through broader adoption of EHRs, the ARRA HITECH Act of 2009 provided financial incentives to hospitals and providers who become “meaningful users” of EHRs.