Dr. Toby Sadkin, Physician Executive and Early Tech Adopter

Recently Dr. Toby Sadkin from Primary Care Health Partners (PCHP) in St. Albans, Vermont, won a prestigious award, 2014 Physician Executive of the Year, from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), a national association for medical practice executives and leaders. She was recognized for her leadership in a medical group practice, and for achieving exceptional medical group performance in the delivery of health care. She is one of the founders of Primary Care Health Partners (PCHP), the largest privately-owned primary care medical group in the state of Vermont, with eight clinical practice locations in Vermont and New York.  

Dr. Sadkin is also an early adopter of technology in her practices. The St. Albans office was the first PCHP practice to implement an electronic health record system (EHR), and one of VITL’s first practices to establish interface connections with their EHR to the Vermont Health Information Exchange (VHIE). These interfaces send patient demographics data to the VHIE, and receive laboratory test results from area labs and hospitals. During this time VITL eHealth Specialist Ann Guilmette worked with Dr. Sadkin to provide training for practice staff on using the EHR, the patient portal, and the interfaces.

Afterward, Dr. Sadkin led an in-house EHR team to roll out the EHR system to all of the other PCHP practices. The significance of this accomplishment can’t be underplayed, especially because the EHR rollout was done prior to the national Meaningful Use incentive program, created to encourage provider adoption of electronic health record systems.

Dr. Sadkin was able to take some time out of her very full schedule to answer a few questions about her experience working with VITL on the EHR project.

Dr. Sadkin, what value did working with VITL to implement EHR bring to your practice?

PCHP and VITL worked together to establish the first VITL interface. This was the first step to enable PCHP to establish connections to outside labs at several of the hospitals throughout Vermont, with fewer actual interfaces for PCHP to establish and support on our own. In addition, Mt. Anthony Primary care, PCHP’s Bennington office, was fortunate to receive support for a pilot program re: clinical transformations through a VITL grant. VITL’s preferred vendor program also empowered PCHP to renegotiate existing terms with our EHR vendor.

What are some of the challenges or problems that VITL specifically addressed? 

VITL has been able to help us better understand some of the nuances of the Meaningful Use Attestation requirements and has been able to provide us with some tools to use in the required Risk Assessments.

Can you describe a specific example of how VITL positively impacted patient health or an administrative outcome?

Administratively, the VITL interfaces allowed fewer interfaces for PCHP to support in-house. Clinically, we anticipate that as VITLAccess becomes functional, it will have a positive impact on patient care, with ability to access information on the HIE. (*health information exchange)

What do you see are the benefits of health IT for you and the patients you care for?

There have been some immediate advantages such as prescribing and electronic results and the ability of the clinicians to access patient health information remotely. Ultimately, the HIE will improve the quality of care for all patients, with physicians and other clinicians having the ability to have a full understanding of the patient’s health history and treatment, regardless of where that patient had been cared for previously.

What is your vision for the future of health IT at your practice?

As above, fully functional EHR interconnectivity with time of service visibility on clinical data across full spectrum of healthcare.