Fayetteville, North Carolina-based Carolina Cape Fear Medical Group had a problem: Clinicians didn’t have a complete view of their patients’ medical histories.
The medical group is located near a military base, so they often see patients who have been treated by several hospitals across the country. Additionally, COVID-19 has caused a significant shift in health care over the past year and a half, with people being limited to telehealth visits and going to more than one provider.
“These changes have heightened the importance of access to complete and timely information for our patients,” said Trish Haynes, practice leader at Carolina Cape Fear Medical Group. “Without easy access to complete records, we relied on our history with the patient or their memory of previous medical procedures.
“Inconsistent and unreliable information can not only cause providers to spend more time on paperwork, but it can also prove harmful or even fatal to our patients,” she continued. “Our practice was looking for an automated solution that could allow us to review a patient’s complete medical records across the United States, providing the highest quality care to anyone who walks through our doors.”
In addition, patients often come to the practice with urgent medical needs. Quick and easy access to external medical records is vital for clinicians to provide timely and adequate care.
“From patient check-in to check-out, my staff no longer waste time contacting other providers or sifting through massive amounts of data, and can focus on advocating for their patients again.”
Trish Haynes, Caroline Cape Fear Medical Group
“When patients are in pain or nervous about a medical issue, it can be difficult to remember previous treatments and procedures,” she explained. “As a result, our staff must often contact former providers and payers to piece together a holistic care history that allows for a diagnosis. This lengthy process could be detrimental to a patient’s health and create unnecessary barriers to treatment.”
PRISMA, the health information search engine from EHR provider eClinicalWorks, offered Carolina Cape Fear Medical Group a comprehensive search tool to streamline data from multiple sources to create an integrated patient record, Haynes said. .
“Today we have access to massive amounts of data from different sources – like primary care practices, specialists, wearable devices and more,” she noted. “We have more patient information available than ever before, and we need to quickly access and analyze this information for better patient outcomes.
“When eClinicalWorks introduced PRISMA to our system, it was a seamless addition to our workflow, and I noticed how it instantly helped our providers make faster, more efficient decisions,” said she added.
Healthcare has an ever-changing collaborative landscape, and medical groups can take advantage of cutting-edge technology to avoid tedious back and forth between a variety of providers.
Medical staff at Carolina Cape Fear Medical Group also needed a timeline of past procedures and tests to make accurate diagnoses and improve the patient experience. By knowing exactly when patients last received treatments and/or medications, staff can be aware of the patient’s time and money, Haynes said.
“Some patient records can contain hundreds of pages, so we were looking for a solution with a search function so that our staff could access any type of specific information they need on a given patient,” she said. declared. “This way, we can prioritize information, save time and supplies, and reduce the cost of unnecessary testing to determine the health issue.
“From patient check-in to check-out, my staff no longer waste time contacting other providers or sifting through huge amounts of data, and can focus on advocating for their patients again,” he said. -she adds.
TRY THE CHALLENGE
Haynes said it was easy for medical staff to start using PRISMA.
“In an instant, the technology was available to everyone in our practice without any major steps – from front desk staff, who use it to check in patients, to clinicians who review in-depth lab reports and identify the correct diagnosis. “, she says. “Everyone at our facility benefits from the comprehensive search tool.
“We have several large hospital systems in our area, including Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, Womack Army Medical Center and Veterans Health Administration, and PRISMA helps us work together effectively to provide the best caring for local residents who come from all over the country,” she continued. “Our insurance staff also use PRISMA to help share medical records with payers and minimize unnecessary costs and procedures.”
The tool has already been tested in practice and passed with flying colors, she reported.
“We recently had a new patient with ulcers that needed immediate attention,” she recalls. “As he was new to our practice, he had no medical records. With PRISMA, we saved the patient from additional exams and images, and provided care immediately.
“The tool also compiled recent lab results and other relevant information to help coordinate with the patient’s insurance company and advance necessary procedures,” she continued. “Without access to this research tool, our providers may not have been able to treat this patient as quickly, which could result in the loss of his limb.”
Time is a valuable resource in healthcare, and the information search engine allows staff to use their time effectively, Haynes added.
“Our people now operate like a well-oiled machine, and we’re seeing a lot less burnout as vendors spend less time sifting through mountains of data,” she noted. “As a Practice Director, I am confident that Carolina Cape Fear Medical Group has all the right tools to meet the needs of our patients. Our patients always come first, and the tool helps us provide the best possible clinical care.”
The ability to access eClinicalWorks’ information search engine has allowed the medical group to better understand each patient.
“In just one month, we achieved an 87% success rate requesting external records on 2,300 patients, receiving an average of approximately 32 external records per patient and 65,148 records in total,” Haynes reported. “With greater access to external sources, we see the full picture of each patient and understand the intricate details of their medical history.
“We no longer rely on a patient’s memory to fill in missing information,” she continued. “It helps us make informed decisions internally to improve care systems and procedures.”
She added that the medical group is better connected, not only with local hospitals and health facilities, but also with providers across the country.
“We received documents from over 130 unique sources, from over 20 different states, in just one month,” she said. “For the first patient in North Carolina that we searched using PRISMA, we received records from the University of Miami Hospital in Florida. Our world is more connected than ever, and the tool of research is moving the healthcare sector into the next phase of care, powered by technology and smart data.”
TIPS FOR OTHERS
Health systems and institutions of all sizes need to be more nationally integrated, Haynes said.
“Information sharing is what will move us forward into 2022 and beyond,” she said. “We provide one of the most important services to society, so creating a centralized, integrated platform is the only way to continue to optimize patient care and outcomes. Unless we open up all to collaboration, the healthcare industry will continue to lag as more and more industries are taking advantage of information sharing tools.
If her practice had this comprehensive information-finding tool a year ago, providing care at the height of the pandemic would have been much easier, she argued.
“Now we cannot imagine our daily operations without her,” she concluded. “As we face the rise of the Delta variant, we know we are ready to meet any challenge that comes our way. If we are to improve patient care, reduce physician burnout, and discover new ways to meet the needs of our patients, we need to embrace technology that fosters collaboration, delivers actionable insights and always puts the focus back on the patient.”
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