Cahaba Medical Care Expands Access to High-Quality Healthcare and Closes Urban Care Gaps Using athenahealth’s Connected Technology

WATERTOWN, Mass., Oct. 26, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- athenahealth, a leading provider of network-enabled software and services for medical groups and health systems nationwide, today released the latest installment of “Thriving on the Frontlines: Stories of Resilience and Resolve.” This powerful story follows family physician Dr. Ernestine Clements and director of behavioral health Charity Laister, both of federally qualified health center (FQHC) Cahaba Medical Care in Alabama, as the clinic works to improve access and close care gaps in local underserved communities, especially through the COVID-19 pandemic. The video highlights the importance of connectivity as part of a thriving ecosystem that delivers accessible, high-quality, and sustainable healthcare for all.

Leveraging athenahealth’s cloud-based solutions, Cahaba Medical Care is able to fulfill its holistic approach to care, which includes helping patients with their physical, mental, and behavioral health, such as substance abuse. athenahealth’s connected technology allows the various providers who touch a patient’s care journey to clearly see the patient’s full medical picture all in one place, enabling them to make informed and confident decisions about proper interventions, prescriptions, and diagnoses, which can lead to better health outcomes. Additionally, through athenahealth’s secure text messaging and patient portal, Cahaba’s employees are easily able to connect with patients and providers at other practices to help close care gaps, without taking valuable time away from the clinic.

“We live in an urban area where many patients lack trust in the healthcare system due to historically unequal access to healthcare services and a stigma around seeking mental health care, especially among the Black community. athenahealth has been able to help us close some of those critical care gaps that have plagued our community for decades and provide our patients with a high level of personalized care,” said Dr. Clements. “By being able to improve the efficiency of our workflows through athenahealth, we are helping more patients not only receive the care they need, but also give more patients hope, help them find their purpose, and set them up to thrive through whatever life throws their way.”

COVID-19 has made it even more important to improve care access due to new physical barriers and increased mental health issues during this time. The pandemic has also caused an increase in substance abuse, with more than 40 states reporting increases in opioid-involved overdose deaths according to public health officials, and a Millennium Health report reveals a 32% increase in positive tests for non-prescribed fentanyl use. Featured in the video is Justin Beckham, a Cahaba patient in an opioid treatment program led by Dr. Clements and Laister, who joined the program to get on track during what he describes as a stressful period of time during COVID-19. The practice has worked to build Justin’s trust with the healthcare system, his confidence in himself, and given him the support he needs to better his overall health and well-being.

“Care access is not a new issue in healthcare, but one that has been much more prominent in recent months due to COVID-19. It’s critical that all patients who need care are able to receive it, no matter who they are, where they live, or what they’re going through,” said Bob Segert, chairman and chief executive officer, athenahealth. “At athenahealth, we are proud to help many federally qualified health centers around the country, including Cahaba, which serve as anchors in their communities and provide greater accessibility while improving the well-being of patients and restoring their trust with providers and the healthcare system.”

“Thriving on the Frontlines” provides an intimate look at how some of athenahealth’s customers are navigating the uncharted territory of delivering high-quality care in a COVID-19 world. The first two episodes, “Built for This” and “The Full Picture,” featured physicians and their staff from two practices in San Antonio, Texas and Headland, Alabama, respectively. In the next episode, athenahealth will highlight a large physician-owned and operated health system, followed by a fifth bonus episode featuring a master cut of the four customer episodes and insights from athenahealth leaders, who work each day to create a thriving ecosystem of hope and healing for all.

For more information and to view the “Thriving on the Frontlines” miniseries, please visit:

About athenahealth, Inc.
athenahealth partners with medical organizations across the country to drive clinical and financial results. Our vision is to create a thriving ecosystem that delivers accessible, high-quality, and sustainable healthcare for all, and we are pursuing this through our medical record, revenue cycle, patient engagement, and care coordination service offerings. Our expert teams build modern technology on an open, connected ecosystem, yielding insights that make a difference for our customers and their patients. For more information, please visit

Jean Borgman

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