One of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act is for hospitals to transition from a paper medical record to an electronic medical record. That will take a lot of work. But Deaconess Hospital has long been at the forefront of that type of technology. In fact, it is in the top 1.1 percent of more than 5,000 hospitals for its use of electronic technology.
What’s more, these changes will help patients.
MyChart is a secure, online health management tool connecting MyChart patients to their personalized health information from anywhere, at any time. The tool is available to any patient of Deaconess Clinic, Deaconess Critical Care, Deaconess Family Practice and Residency, and Deaconess Primary Care for Seniors centers. It allows patients to view important outpatient information, like test results. It also allows them to renew prescriptions, schedule appointments, and even to send messages to their doctor.
This tangible, patient-friendly program is part of the Deaconess Hospital pledge to provide patients with complete, accurate, and timely information regarding their care, says Dr. James Porter, chief medical officer at Deaconess.
“Information is power, and people feel more control over their situation — more engaged in their health care — if they have control over their information,” he says. “With the advent of smartphones and texting and Wikipedia and Google, people have different expectations for how they are going to access and have availability of information.”
With MyChart, any physician using the Deaconess electronic medical record as their office electronic medical record can offer the availability of MyChart functionality to their outpatients. Deaconess Hospital is currently exploring the possibility of offering MyChart for inpatients as well, Porter says.
“This allows them to get that information in the most timely manner possible,” he adds.
Information technology has been a major part of Deaconess’s overall strategy to keep the hospital at the forefront. It also means the facility is well positioned to be able to address the requirements of health care reform, Porter says.
“We feel like one of the most important components of our ability to be successful and to be able to provide care to our patients in the best possible way moving forward are fully integrated electronic medical records, which marries all the information from the ambulatory and inpatient setting and puts it in one place so that each patient has one chart anywhere they go in our health system,” Porter says.
Beyond electronic records, Deaconess Hospital is also focusing on concussions, according to Dr. Greg Rodocker, medical director of the Deaconess Concussion Clinic.
The Mayo Clinic says concussions occur when the brain slides back and forth forcefully against the inner wall of the skull. Yet these traumatic events can be difficult to diagnose since, in many instances, there is no physical evidence that there has been an injury.
“Historically when you look at it, the player would go right back into the game after a concussion,” Rodocker says. “You’d get your bell rung and get sent right back in the game. The problem is that it isn’t a physical injury, like a knee injury, that is easy to see.”
A July 2012 state legislative mandate seeks to change that by educating the public and caregivers about concussions. Along those lines, the Indiana High School Athletic Association and the National Federation of High Schools have issued guidelines for playing rules and concussion management.
Cutting Edge Fertility Treatments
Meanwhile, Deaconess recently announced a partnership with Boston IVF, an industry leader in fertility services that brings cutting-edge fertility treatments to the Tri-State.
“Our patients were having to drive two to three hours away to have any kind of In Vitro treatment,” says Melissa Gough, service line manager for the Deaconess fertility clinic. “Now, that’s going to be a comprehensive service that we will be able to provide right here in our own hospital.”
The partnership between Deaconess Women’s Hospital and Boston IVF technically began in early January. However, Boston IVF physicians were already seeing local patients at the facility as it worked to recruit a full-time physician who will be mentored by Boston IVF.
“We have always been a regional referral center, but we are also trying to continually maximize and broaden that scope of services as is appropriate for the population we serve,” Chief Medical Officer Porter says. “Where we see a need, we try to meet that need.”
And as we move farther into the 21st century, Deaconess Hospital will continue to be at the forefront of new medical technologies, ensuring that patients receive the highest level of care available.