Mount Kisco Medical Group: Dr. Abe Levy, Medical Director

by HCE Exchange on November 1, 2010

With the increased amount of ailments and illnesses seen in healthcare today, it is most ideal for a medical center to have the ability to treat any type of patient in a safe and efficient manner. With more than 200 physicians, including experts in 30 specialties, Mount Kisco Medical Group may be the model of where the future of healthcare is headed.

The physician-owned, multi-specialty group is headquartered in Mount Kisco, New York, with more than 20 other offices located in the surrounding area. Started in the mid-1940’s, MKMG continues to build upon the standards on which they were founded, while adapting to fit the needs of patients in the modern day.

Shifting Focus

“We were founded 64 years ago and had been focused on physician quality throughout that time. In later years, we focused on the quality of our technology, but now in even later years, we focus on patient service and patient satisfaction in a patient-centric environment,” said Dr. Abe Levy, Medical Director at MKMG.

The shift of attention to patient satisfaction has led to sweeping success, as well as a sense of continuity, as physicians are joining MKMG and staying for the long hall.

“In 2009, with over 200 physicians in the group, we had only one leave and that was due to retirement after a 33-year career. That is half of a percent leaving. Basically our physicians stay here for their entire careers. They enjoy working here,” said Levy.

Projects and Initiatives

Like most organizations these days, MKMG is trying to keep up with technology in the hopes that improving their processes will lead to improved patient care and satisfaction. One way MKMG has attempted to improve their quality of care through technology is by attempting to go paperless, using data management systems and electronic record keeping to eliminate human error that comes with handwritten notes and reports.

“We see an opportunity where the electronics makes for better quality and lower risk. Most of our quality assurances initiatives are really centered around the technology we use,” said Levy.

A prime example is in the way specimens are collected at MKMG medical sites. Rather than having handwritten labels that can be lost or misinterpreted, all specimens are barcoded to be completely trackable. The specimens are then scannable when sent out to various reference labs, where the data is instantly available, eliminating human error.

MKMG also utilizes an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system, where a patient’s official medical record is filed electronically, rather than in a manila folder in a filing cabinet. Having selected their first EMR a little more than a decade ago, MKMG is in the process of updating that technology now. Keeping its central operating system running smoothly is imperative to patient care, due to the broad range of information it holds.

“We’re selecting a new EMR because the one we’ve been using for eight years that we’re pleased with will not meet meaningful use, so we have to have a new one in place by next year,” said Levy. “We have every single note on every patient for the last 12 years in our EMR system, and every single lab test from every patient for the last eight years as well. We will also use it to send over 400,000 electronic prescriptions this year.”

Other high-tech improvement projects currently underway at MKMG include a new pathology lab, and a patient portal. Already able to access their prescription renewal and appointment requests online, patients will be able to email physician staff through an encrypted website for a secure connection.

Quality through partnerships

When dealing with technological partners in the health care industry, there is a necessary trust needed in order to form a successful bond. Rather than shopping around extensively to find the best financial deal, MKMG has found success by first finding the vendor that works most for them, and worrying about cost later.

“We have achieved efficiency by having relationships with as few vendors as possible, and being as large a customer as possible for them” said Levy. “The other thing we’ve always done is to select the best vendor in the industry and then negotiate the price, rather than using the price as a way of picking the vendor. We don’t pick the lowest bidder, we pick the best vendor. That’s one way we’ve gotten efficiency without sacrificing quality. We also become a partner and a demo site with every major vendor. We have a partnership with Beckman Coulter in our laboratory for their hematology and coagulation equipment.  And the ability to maximize on both efficiency and quality is what has propelled MKMG to what it is today.

“I think the obsession with quality physicians, quality technology and patient centricity is what we’re about,” Levy concluded. “I think that the balance in those three is important, and that is what we’re trying to accomplish.”

-by Matthew Bretzius

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