Have you ever tried to get medical records from a doctor’s office or hospital?
It was probably a multi-step process: Call the doctor’s office or hospital. After navigating a phone tree, you talk with a staff member or nurse. They might ask you to complete a form. Then, there’s the matter of traveling to the facility to pick up paper copies.
Yet, if you want to find out about that new restaurant, or locate the results of last night’s game, or uncover some tips on helping with your child’s school project, turning to your computer, mobile device or tablet is an almost automatic first step.
Why haven’t we been able to access out personal health information like that? We use the internet for general health information. In a 2018 study performed by the Pew Internet and American Life project, 80 percent of all internet users searched for health topics online.
But what if all of that information could somehow be available online, safely stored where it could be accessed by the patient and the physicians, nurses and staff providing their care? The nature of health care itself has historically provided barriers.
A physician office might have some patient data in their system. The hospital or MRI testing center might have more data in their system. And, unfortunately, those systems might not communicate. Even within a single hospital, different departments might use unique software systems that are designed to complete the tests or procedure required for them specifically but not operate collaboratively with others.
Anyone who has given registration information multiple times in the same building to numerous departments has experienced this frustration firsthand.
The solution is in sight. Health care providers and hospitals are increasingly implementing electronic medical record (EMR) systems.
Having one medical record allows for:
>> A more thorough patient chart that includes data from all points of service.
>> A universal medical history and medication list.
>> Less information provided at each checkpoint across the continuum of care.
>> Reductions in duplicate testing.
As a physician, having all of a patient’s information in one place allows me to make better informed decisions about their care, eliminates the need for redundant procedures or diagnostics and reduces the risk of prescription errors or contraindications. All of those reasons translate to more efficient, effective care for the people I treat in the emergency room. In short, one record is best for the patient.
The transition to a new EMR at McLeod Health hospitals is underway. In March of this year, McLeod launched Millenium, a comprehensive health information system from Cerner Health, at our hospitals in Manning, Little River and Loris. In September, our hospitals in Cheraw, Darlington, Dillon and Florence will follow in adopting this patient-centered approach to medical information. Teams of physicians, nurses, administrators and information specialists worked for more than two years to prepare for this launch.
Will the transition be flawless? If you have ever tried to set up a new computer or cell phone, you know new technology always presents some challenges, but the eventual and ultimate user/patient experience will exceed anything you’ve had in the past.
You’ll be able to see your records, test results and pay a bill … all online with your unique username and password. Look for more information in the future about the launch of a new Millenium in your access to personal health information.