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Registry Helps Improve Care Efficiency

Carol Milano

August 2004

Many of the computerized chronic disease management programs vying to streamline physician practices are too new to have a proven track record. But a medical center in Concord, N.C., has been using a registry program for nearly a decade to cut costs and improve the quality of care it delivers to patients. Over the past 10 years, the registry has also helped NorthEast Medical Center become more efficient, a factor that is particularly important under managed care.

Earlier this year, the diabetes disease management registry program developed by Douglas Kelling, MD, at NorthEast, was introduced into a medical practice in Westchester County, N.Y. It was the first time it had been used outside of NorthEast and the first time it was used in a medical practice.

Improving Processes
Using a registry creates a radical break from how most physicians practice medicine, says Janet Sullivan, MD, chief medical officer of Hudson Health Plan (HHP), in Tarrytown, N.Y., which serves mainly low-income patients. Sullivan had heard Kelling speak about the registry, called CareFocus, and was impressed enough to visit him in his office in North Carolina. After seeing how efficiently his office runs, she recommended the registry to the Westchester New York Diabetes Coalition. The health plan is a member of the coalition, and, at the time, the coalition was looking for a registry.

Sullivan is hoping that NorthEastís model can work in a community where many physicians are in private practice. Currently, HHP is offering the diabetes management program to participating primary care doctors in Westchester County and to Metro+Med, a primary care practice in New Rochelle, N.Y.

A joint project of the health plan and the diabetes coalition, the registry is funded, in part, through a three-year ....

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