Bluestone: How Mobility Delivers Dignity in Care

Published on Wednesday November 15, 2017

In this live eCW Podcast from the eClinicalWorks National Conference, Candice Levy, Senior Director of Clinical Operations from Bluestone Physician Services, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, explains how eClinicalWorks helps improve the care of elderly patients at assisted living communities and group homes that they serve.

“We’re completely mobile, so we use the eClinicalTouch app a lot, and we’ve been working really hard this last year on interoperability, going live on Carequality and CommonWell, which has been really great for the practice.”

– Candice Levy, Senior Director of Clinical Operations, Bluestone Physician Services

Topics from this episode

Group practices, MIPS

Bluestone Physician Services invests in training their physicians in the healthcare IT tools they need for success, showing them why they should care about things like their MIPS (Merit-based Incentive Payment System) scores, and which quality measures they should focus on. Through early training and monthly site visits, they help providers gain the knowledge and confidence they need to deliver top-quality care.


When your care delivery is 100% mobile, interoperability isn’t a nice option, but essential for fulfilling your mission. Bluestone Physician Services employs more than 70 providers, who work with hundreds of caregivers in nursing homes and assisted living communities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Florida. The connectivity and interoperability that eClinicalWorks provides have been key.


When your providers are on the road, in and out of hundreds of facilities, they need healthcare IT tools that can do the distance, pick up the signals, and keep them in touch with the databases and documentation tools that are critical for quality care delivery. eClinicalTouch, the eClinicalWorks EHR on the iPad, offers the access and functionality Bluestone Physician Services needs — throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, and in rapidly expanding markets in Florida.


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Shankar: My name is Shank. I’m a product specialist here at eClinicalWorks. And this is going to be another Podcast series, featuring one of our amazing clients that’s been using our system for some time. So, I’m joined here by Candice, from Bluestone Physician Group. And Candice, just introduce yourself, maybe tell us a little bit about your practice and your clinic.

Candice Levy: So, my role at Bluestone is really, I’m our eCW administration, so I work really closely with our providers, to make sure the product is working the way they need it to. Like I said, we’re completely mobile, so we use the eClinicalTouch app a lot, the mobile application, and we’ve been working really hard this last year on interoperability, going live on Carequality and CommonWell, which has been really great for practice.

Shankar: So, tell us, in terms of how many providers you have, and because you work off of different states, some of the challenges in terms of keeping updated with your payers, and different rules, and just communicating to your providers. How do you actually go about doing that?

Candice: Sure, so we have right around 70 providers. It seems to change on a daily basis. We’re going through some rapid growth. But we’ve really worked on engagement with our providers by what we do. We call it a roadshow. Our chief clinical officer and I go out and meet with every provider face to face in every market, so across Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Florida, twice a year. And we really use that time to talk to them about the things that they need to know, and why. So, why should you care about your MIPS score? And what are the upcoming quality measures that you should be paying attention to with your patients while you’re taking care of them? And then I really beg them to complain about the EHR, so that I can take it back as a to-do list, and I’ve done everything I can fix to make their lives a little bit better.

Shankar: That’s excellent. And in terms of staying updated with the features, do you actually spread that education yourself, or this is where you’re pointing them, the direction of the support portal? Webinars? Podcasts? What are you kind of leveraging to kind of get them educated on making sure they are utilizing as best they can, with the new features?

Candice: So, we have created a pretty robust training program for all of our providers. So we have a full-time training staff that spend two to three weeks side by side with our providers when they start. So they get a lot of the training right off the bat. So, we try really hard to have a good onboarding process, so that we can set them up for success. But beyond that, our trainers continually go out and rotate around with the different teams, and they spend a lot of time — oh, this provider seems to be kind of lagging in this area, so what can we focus on there? We also do weekly learning labs, so early Friday we have our training team, our training manager, that really hosts learning labs every Friday, and we kind of pick a topic, or we have some rotating topics that we just kind of throw in, or we’ll just have a general Q&A session, where anybody can call in and ask questions, or, you know, how can I make the system work a little bit better here or there. And then we’ve focused a lot on creating these really quick, little videos, like one to two minutes max, and then we’ll send them out to the providers. You know, here’s your tip of the day, or tip of the month. Just something really quick and short so they can get through it and get back to their day.

Shankar: That’s actually pretty amazing, because I think for a lot of practices that are in your situation, and especially with the growth that you’ve had, you need to find a pretty agile way to get the message out there, and get it out pretty quick. And you guys found a way to do that not just at one time, but a continual process. As you know, there are so many features! In terms of the outlook for 2018, and in terms of growth, do you guys have a particular target, or it’s been pretty much growing organically? Are you guys trying to focus on a particular area? Like, what [does] the outlook looks like for Bluestone.

So, one fun fact that we like to throw out there is that the city of Tampa, in Florida, has more assisted living communities than Minnesota and Wisconsin combined. So, our growth, really, right now is in the Tampa area, but we’re really kind of moving north and south of that, as well. We have teams in Orlando, in Jacksonville, Sarasota, kind of Northern Tampa, also. So, our growth is really focused on Florida right now.

Shankar: That’s fantastic. And I understand this is not your first rodeo in terms of the eClinicalWorks Conference. To how many Conferences have you been, and what’s your overall experience, and, of course, what are you looking forward to in terms of what was spoken about at the Keynote, for upcoming features and the Product Showcase?

Candice: So, this is my fourth eCW Conference. I think the most beneficial part of the Conference is eCWCentral, so, going around and talking to the eCW employees, and finding the right people to engage in order to focus on what development or enhancement request you want. Because we use the eClinicalTouch application, we’ve built a pretty strong relationship with that team, so, Greg, and we can call him every week or twice a week, and ask for everything that we hope that the system will do. I know that we’ve kind of paved the way for using that in a residential-based clinic. I know that originally it was more developed to be an extension of the core application, but we’ve really taken that and kind of flipped it around, where we use it exclusively in a lot of our teams. So that part has been great. We’re really looking forward to a lot of the upcoming features. Really we’re focused so much on interoperability, because we’re kind of a smaller clinic still, and we don’t work with just one health system. We’re connecting with hundreds of different hospitals across all of the different states, because we really have no control over where our patients go, so we’ve been focusing a lot on getting Carequality up and running and CommonWell.

Shankar: And as you saw from the Keynote, the idea is — and what has been implemented — is being able to connect to these hospital systems through CommonWell and Carequality, literally at the click of a button. So this way, as your practice is growing, now you guys have full control, where you take the EMR out of the picture and you’re actually choosing to go ahead and activate — which makes sense for a practice like yours. Well, I will also ask, in terms of for first-time attendees, do you know of, other than having your list of questions, and going down to Central and finding the right person for the job, in terms of getting the most out of these sessions, and bringing that information back, any advice you might have in terms of how you worked out your formula since this is your fourth time here?

Candice: Yes, so we try to divide and conquer. Go through as many sessions as we can, learn as much as we can, take a lot of notes. But that is the challenge, is taking all of those notes back and not letting them just get lost in a notebook somewhere. So we try to really bring everything that we’ve learned back to our next provider meeting. We have monthly provider meetings with all of our Minnesota and Wisconsin physicians and NPs, and then all of Florida is separate. But we condense them, so we’ll have a debrief meeting when we get back and we’ll go through everything that we learned, and what do we hope to implement next, or what kinds of tips and tricks did you learn? And then we make sure that we just share that with everyone else that’s not here.

Shankar: That sounds wonderful. Well, folks, it was a pleasure speaking with you, Candice, and I hope for those of you out there who are listening, some valuable information was imparted, I think, for first-time attendees, or practices that might be similar, or can extrapolate some more information in terms of how they would implement it with their practice. Again, my name is Shankar. This is Candice. Thank you so much for joining us today. Have a wonderful day. Take care.