Typically, your medical record is stored in multiple locations – from your physician’s office to your pharmacy to your hospital to your insurance company – and each record may have different information included in it, as the various computer systems do not always communicate with each other. In addition, not every office across our nation is electronic. Some still rely on a paper-based system. Despite this, providers must have accurate, real-time information regarding a patient to ensure safety, quality and cost-control for the patient, as well as to improve their diagnosis, treatment and preventative care.
To combat the issue of multiple medical records, modern Electronic Health Records (EHR) and Health Information Exchanges (HIE) can be combined to provide physicians with access to a patient’s health history, vital signs, labs, reports and other relevant clinical information. This combination of technologies allows health information to be securely exchanged between members of a patient’s care team, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists and, of course, the patient. Other benefits include improving:
- Quality and convenience of patient care
- Patient participation in their care
- Accuracy of diagnosis and health outcomes
- Practice efficiencies and cost savings
- Care coordination
In June 2012, Mount Nittany Health began a journey to ensure that all of our relevant clinical information would be available electronically at the point of care. This broad initiative involves connecting a number of systems as well as retiring the paper chart from remaining areas. We call this initiative One Record, and while it is designed to be fully implemented this summer, many of the improvements mentioned above are already benefiting our caregivers and our patients. Through this initiative, we expect caregivers to spend less time looking for information and more time making sure patients are being treated fully and provided with the best care. Health records will be shared between providers quickly and easily, allowing them to have a more timely and accurate picture of any Mount Nittany Health patient.
Not only is it important for providers to have access to a patient’s information, a patient should also be able to access their own health records to increase their knowledge and involvement in their own healthcare. A recent study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that patients who viewed their electronic health records experienced improved communication with their healthcare provider and greater engagement in their care. Mount Nittany Health is creating a patient portal that will allow patients to access their own health records.
Mount Nittany Health is committed to continually enhancing our health information technology in order to help our caregivers to provide the safest and highest quality care for every patient. For more information on One Record and the use of Electronic Health Records, visit mountnittany.org.