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Rural Kansas doc named to national health IT leadership group

By KHI NEWS SERVICE | June 11, 2013

Plainville family physician Dr. Jen Brull featured in an HHS print advertisement promoting the benefits of adopting electronic health records.

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Dr. Jen Brull — a family medicine physician in the tiny western Kansas town of Plainville — is among the first class of 28 fellows to be named this month by the national agency that coordinates health information technology efforts.

The Health IT Fellows, organized by the Office of the National Coordinator, are meeting for the first time today in Washington, D.C.

The group will work to assist other physicians as they make the transition from paper to electronic health records.

Brull said the strengths she expects to offer the group are in quality improvement, particularly as it applies to smaller practices.

"The nice thing about being small is that I don't have to check with a lot of people before making a change, and it doesn't take long to see if any change made is actually improving the situation as hoped," Brull said.

"The challenge, of course, is that we have limited resources. We do not have a dedicated, full-time IT person, for example. We don't have a research department or extra staff who have time earmarked for quality improvement work. So I think I can talk about how to make quality improvement a part of the culture of your organization, no matter what size you are," she said.

ONC spokesman Peter Ashkenaz said the first fellows would include 18 providers and 10 administrative staff from a variety of settings including small practices, critical access hospitals and community health centers.

According to the ONC website, the Health IT Fellows:

will be empowered to be an active voice in their community and on a national level, articulating specific ways leveraging meaningful use leads to better care, better health, and lower cost.

Two years ago, Brull became the first doctor featured by ONC as a Meaningful Use Vanguard, appearing in a series of print advertising and promotional videos by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Brull was the first physician in Kansas — perhaps the country — to be federally certified for using electronic health records.

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