Maine healthcare practice celebrates medical informatics success

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Although states such as California and Rhode Island have made headlines for their adoption of medical informatics technology, a small physician practice in Scarborough, Maine, recently celebrated its own milestone in improving the lives of its patients through technology, reports Healthcare IT News.

Coastal Women’s Healthcare serves a community of 20,000 people along Maine’s southern coast and was the first healthcare practice in the state to receive incentive payments through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) meaningful use program.

Members of Congress, local healthcare advocates and officials from the CMS commended Coastal Women’s Healthcare during a special ceremony earlier this month for its implementation and use of medical informatics technology.

Beverly Neugebauer, the center’s executive director, was applauded for her proactive attitude toward adoption of healthcare IT. Neugebauer sought the assistance of the Maine Regional Extension Center (MEREC) when implementing clinical informatics systems at the facility.

“While our providers’ exceptional care of their patients is clearly our priority, the added element of new, secure technology helps us improve patient care while also increasing patient convenience,” Neugebauer told the news source. “For example, electronic medical records have helped us ensure our patients are getting the best quality care, while our online patient portal makes it easy for our patients to complete necessary medical history forms, access their lab results or request appointments.”

According to Maine Quality Counts, MEREC has been instrumental in assisting healthcare providers across the state with implementing medical informatics technology. Services offered by MEREC include providing physicians with an overview of the CMS’ meaningful use program, educational webinars to promote best practices and summaries of reporting procedures, and biannual professional development forums.

The national regional extension centers initiative was introduced under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, and aims to enable all healthcare facilities to select and deploy healthcare IT such as medical informatics networks.