The last few months have been extremely busy for those of us at Greater Lawrence Family Health Center. Our medical and support staffs have undertaken extensive training in preparation for the conversion to a new Electronic Medical Record, which occurred on November 1st. GLFHC was one of the first primary care providers to install an EMR back in 1999. The conversion to this new, more sophisticated system is a significant investment but will position the Health Center to meet the demands of health care reform. It will also provide data and information for our medical staff as we continue to build care teams in our effort to transform care delivery to the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model. GLFHC has been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as a PCMH Level 3. This distinction is held by only 1.5 percent of the primary care practices in the country.
In addition to this major undertaking, several other key projects are underway. By collaborating with other health and human service agencies in our service area, GLFHC will be able to provide a high quality network of care for Merrimack Valley residents. One important example is the recent opening of our new primary care site within Lawrence General Hospital. GLFHC clinicians will see patients for annual and acute care visits at the new site, which also houses our High Risk Obstetrics clinic.
The Health Center and the Hospital are partnering on several other initiatives to transform and integrate care including:
• Alternative access for avoidable emergency room visits;
• Reduction in hospital readmission rates;
• Enhanced access for primary and specialty care.
Before the end of 2012, GLFHC anticipates that we will open another clinical site at Holy Family Hospital in Methuen. When completed, the new clinic will add 12 exam rooms for walk-in and acute care visits and offer a full-service pharmacy. Integrating pharmacy services in an outpatient setting gives patients timely access to prescribed medications as well as drug counseling and education for both patients and their caregivers. By increasing medication management services, our patients will experience fewer adverse drug effects which will reduce hospital readmissions and ultimately decrease costs across the medical system.