Even though they're often referred to as "medically underserved," the patients of ARcare are unusually well-served in one sense at least: They have access to clinics with a high level of EHR mastery. Under Greg Wolverton's leadership, ARcare, a 37-clinic network spread across Arkansas and parts of Kentucky, became the first federally qualified health center to achieve Ambulatory Stage 7 in the HIMSS Analytics EHR adoption model. Most of ARcare's sites are also recognized as Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Homes by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Wolverton left a long career in law enforcement 11 years ago to become a computer tech at ARcare's predecessor organization and quickly climbed the ladder when its first EHR was installed in 2005. Wolverton attributes ARcare's IT success to the management of people more than technology. All ARcare employees, clinical and non-clinical, spend three weeks in training on the "electronic patient management system" (Wolverton says the EHR/EMR terminology is too limiting). While changes to the system are managed centrally, Wolverton keeps tabs on what's needed through a Yammer private social network site where users can ask questions, swap tips and otherwise contribute to the EPMS evolution. "My job is more about governance than about working with technology," Wolverton says.
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