The Carolina Cape Fear Medical Group, based in Fayetteville, North Carolina, had a problem: clinicians did not have a complete view of their patients’ medical histories.
The medical group is located near a military base, so it often sees patients who have been treated by multiple hospitals across the country. Additionally, COVID-19 has caused a significant shift in healthcare over the past year and a half, with people limiting themselves to telehealth visits and reaching out to more than one provider.
“These changes have increased the importance of access to timely and holistic information for our patients,” said Trish Haynes, practice manager at Carolina Cape Fear Medical Group. “Without easy access to complete records, we relied on our history with the patient or their recollection of previous medical procedures.
“Inconsistent and unreliable information can not only cause providers to spend more time on paperwork, it can be harmful and even fatal for 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 adequate and timely care.
“From patient check-in to discharge, my staff no longer waste time contacting other providers or going through huge amounts of data, and can focus again on advocating for their patients.”
Trish Haynes, Carolina Cape Fear Medical Group
“When patients are in pain or are nervous because of a medical problem, it can be difficult to remember previous treatments and procedures,” she explained. “As a result, our staff often have to contact former providers and payers to reconstruct a holistic care history that allows for a diagnosis. This lengthy process could harm a patient’s health and create unnecessary barriers to treatment. “
PRISMA, the health information search engine from EHR provider eClinicalWorks, has given Carolina Cape Fear Medical Group a comprehensive search tool to streamline data from multiple sources to create an integrated patient record, said Haynes .
“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 into our system, it was a seamless addition to our workflow, and I noticed how instantly it helps our suppliers make faster and better decisions,” a- she added.
Healthcare has a collaborative and ever-changing landscape, and medical groups can take advantage of cutting-edge technology to avoid the tedious back-and-forth between a variety of providers.
The medical staff at Carolina Cape Fear Medical Group also needed a schedule of past procedures and tests to make accurate diagnoses and improve the patient experience. By knowing exactly when patients last received treatment and / or medication, staff can be aware of the patient’s time and money, said Haynes.
“Some patient records can be hundreds of pages long, so we were looking for a solution with a search function so that our staff could search for any type of specific information they needed on a given patient,” she said. . “That way, we can prioritize information, save time and supplies, and reduce the costs of unnecessary testing to determine the health problem.
“From patient registration to departure, my staff no longer waste time contacting other providers or going through huge amounts of data, and can focus again on advocating for their patients,” he said. -she adds.
TRY THE CHALLENGE
Haynes said it was easy for the 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 register patients, to clinicians who review in-depth lab reports and identify the correct diagnosis. . ” she said. “Everyone in our establishment 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 the Veteran Health Administration, and PRISMA helps us work together effectively to provide the best care to local residents who come from across the country. country, “she continued.” Our insurance staff also use PRISMA to share medical records with payers and minimize costs and unnecessary procedures. “
The tool has already been put to the test in practice and has succeeded with flying colors, she reported.
“We recently received a new patient with ulcers requiring immediate attention,” she recalls. “Since he was new to our practice, he did not have a medical record. With PRISMA, we saved the patient from additional studies and images, and provided immediate care.
“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 might not have been able to treat this patient so quickly, which could result in the loss of his limb.”
Time is a precious resource in healthcare, and the information finder helps staff use their time efficiently, added Haynes.
“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 Practice Director, I have confidence that the Carolina Cape Fear Medical Group has all the tools necessary to meet the needs of our patients. Our patients always come first and the tool helps us provide the best clinical care possible. “
Being able to access the eClinicalWorks information search engine has given the medical group a better understanding of each patient.
“In just one month, we achieved an 87% success rate by requesting outpatient records on 2,300 patients, receiving an average of about 32 outpatient documents per patient and 65,148 documents in total,” Haynes reported. “With better access to external sources, we have a holistic view 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 systems and procedures of care.”
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 research tool is taking the healthcare sector to the next phase of care. powered by smart technology and data. “
TIPS FOR OTHERS
Health systems and facilities of all sizes need to be more integrated nationally, said Haynes.
“Information sharing is what will take us forward to 2022 and beyond,” she said. “We provide one of the most important services to society. Creating a centralized and integrated platform is therefore the only way to continue to optimize patient care and outcomes. Unless we all open up to collaboration, the healthcare sector will continue to fall behind as more industries take advantage of information sharing tools.
If her practice had had this comprehensive information finder a year ago, providing care in the height of the pandemic would have been much easier, she argued.
“Now we can’t imagine our day-to-day operations without it,” she concluded. “As we deal with the ramp-up of the Delta variant, we know we are ready to meet any challenges that come our way. If we are to improve patient care, reduce physician burnout, and discover new ways to meet the needs of our patients, we must embrace technology that fosters collaboration, delivers actionable insights, and always puts the emphasis back on. the patient.”