Dr. David Botha is, as many physicians are, busy. His practice, Park Street Clinic is in the small town of Hope, BC where there are less than 10 practicing family doctors. Clinical Services Manager, Kent Marley, who supports physicians on Vancouver Island and across many parts of BC, initially visited Dr. Botha two years ago along with a Practice Support Program coach (PSP), Karen Steegstra. At that time in 2022, Dr. Botha was unfamiliar with HDC. He had created an account in HDC Discover but wasn’t logging on regularly to get a sense of the overall picture of his practice.  

During that initial meeting, Kent shared some of the functionalities of the HDC Discover application and case studies about physicians in the province sharing and comparing an ever-growing number of relevant aggregate clinical measures with colleagues. These case studies showed how physicians are adjusting their practices to save time and better support their patients. This inspired Dr. Botha and his office manager Zelda with the possibilities of practice reflection through the use of HDC Discover.  

Dr Botha identified several clinical topics such as COPD, asthma and heart failure, which he knew were showing low patient numbers in HDC Discover in comparison to what he knew about his practice panel. For example, the HDC Discover application and the PSP Panel Management dashboard indicated five patients with COPD. It turned out that the information wasn’t recorded in the disease registry (or patient medical profile), although it was recorded in other places within the patient chart. Karen showed Dr Botha how to update the disease registry and within minutes they confirmed the changes via the PSP dashboard. “Physicians recognize how meaningful and satisfying it is to have accurate patient registries to manage proactive and regular patient care,” shares Karen. 

Dr Botha was encouraged to continue capturing his patient registries that would be reflected in HDC Discover so he could easily generate patient reports within his own EMR. “Viewing my practice data within HDC Discover exposed areas of my patient panel that I was not very familiar with,” shares Dr. Botha. “I perform tasks regularly on the computer every day. I don’t generally have the time to take a step back and explore other things. With both Kent and Karen’s support, possibilities opened up for me. Without their visit I wouldn’t have been aware of my patient registries, not because it’s not of interest to me, I just didn’t realize how we could use and interpret the data that we enter in the EMR every day. It offered a new perspective.”  

When Kent and Karen returned to Park Street Clinic a year later to meet with Dr. Botha, the physician shared that he hadn’t had the time he’d hoped to implement the changes he wanted. “Things had gotten crazy; I hadn’t had the time to spend in HDC as I had originally planned. After not much time spent on HDC Discover, I didn’t think Kent and I would have much to discuss at that follow up.”  

Kent pulled up Dr Botha’s HDC Discover account and both he and Dr. Botha were pleasantly surprised with what they saw. It turned out that Zelda had been working behind the scenes to update patient charts, which the application now presented clearly.  She started this new process immediately after Kent and Karen’s visit the previous year, and her efforts were visible. 

“We saw Dr. Botha’s COPD, asthma, heart failure patient populations all showing more accurately in HDC Discover,” says Kent. “His updated disease registries reinforced the complex patient panel that had been keeping Dr. Botha so busy.”  

“Just to have the information about my patients and be able to go in, have a look and review different patients is wonderful,” says Dr. Botha. “Having that practice information prompts you to ask questions and look for answers.” 

Zelda’s work in updating the disease registry is proof that small actions can result in long term benefits. Her steady input into their EMR, categorizing patients and ensuring their measures were recorded accurately, allowed Dr. Botha to increase his panel accuracy. “There’s a lot of data available, but I never had easy access to review it,” he says.  

“Creating the awareness around patient follow up and processes stimulates those discussions and curiosities,” adds Kent. “The data can reveal patterns and taking the time to step back to see the big picture may show potential opportunities to tweak some practice processes. We can also compare panels to other similar clinics or areas around the province to get a benchmark or context outside of one’s siloed clinic.” 

“That’s the nice thing about this whole process and the HDC Discover application,” shares Dr. Botha. “It’s made it easier to access more information about your patients which allows us to follow up more effectively. It’s been extremely helpful in identifying complex care patients and bringing them in regularly to review their health and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.”  

Like Dr. Botha, you can set up a time to chat with an HDC Clinical Services Manager and PSP Coach to learn more about your practice through HDC Discover. Email HDC at info@hdcbc.ca to better understand your patient population and patterns of practice,  email FPSC’s practice support program (PSP) at psp@doctorsofbc.ca, or submit a PSP service request here.