James Holly, M.D., is a believer when it comes to EHR technology for physician group practices. His practice, Southeast Texas Medical Associates, has used digital documentation since 1999—and has invested $6.5 million in I.T. over the years, “all private funds,” Holly told the audience at his HIMSS presentation. But Holly says that unless physician groups use the technology to document—and improve—quality, the EHR is not worth the cost.

The group practice has jumped into quality measurement full force. It tracks some 250 quality measures, including several standard industry measures such as HEDIS and PQRI. The practice has layered a business intelligence tool atop its NextGen ambulatory electronic record system. It can track multiple metrics for any patient with a given condition.

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