Jim Holsinger wasn't always a family doctor. Handed a golden parachute after years as a food marketer, he fulfilled a lifelong dream by heading to medical school in his mid-40s. When he completed his training and went to set up a solo practice in Keokuk, Iowa in 2003, adopting an EHR at the outset was such an obvious choice that he didn't even consider it to be one. "After my long career in business, it was unimaginable not to have a computer system," he says. His practice had an EHR the day it opened its doors, and has been paper-free ever since.

The practice's use of the EHR won it a 2011 Davies Award of Excellence in ambulatory care. Dr. Holsinger will show how his practice uses its EHR not only to stay solvent in a challenging financial environment, but to far outstrip the average patient-care metrics of other physicians in his area. For example, more than 95 percent of his patients are up to date on flu and pneumonia vaccinations, compared with a state average of less than 50 percent.

Neither Dr. Holsinger nor any of his employees had previous experience with an EHR, and he believes it was the first fully integrated EHR in use within 100 miles of Keokuk, a small Mississippi River town that also pulls patients from neighboring Illinois. He spent about $50,000 on a system from e-MDs, Austin, Texas. (He was one of the first physicians to get an incentive payment for meaningful use through the Medicare program, and has also received payments from the PQRI and CMS e-prescribing incentive programs.) He'll describe how he went about selecting the EHR and adapting himself and his employees to its use. "Don't try to find a system that fits your practice," he advises. "Find a way to make your practice fit the system."

The session, “Electronic Health System - The Foundation for Building a Successful Solo Medical Practice,” is scheduled on Feb. 22 at 1:30 p.m.

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