Outpatient Clinics Adopt eRecord, Debut New ‘MyChart’ Feature
Last week, 162 University of Rochester Medical Center-affiliated outpatient clinics officially plugged into “eRecord,” URMC’s new electronic medical record solution.
This latest milestone marks a significant step in the Medical Center’s journey deploying a single electronic health record that spans all points of care within its health system. Strong Memorial Hospital debuted the technology in March 2011, followed closely by sister hospital, Highland, in June.
“Undeniably, this phase of our project presented the most logistical challenges, given the number of unique locations involved,” said URMC CEO Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D. “But since the majority of health care happens in the outpatient setting, it also represents our greatest opportunity for making positive change.”
For the past few years, eRecord has been URMC’s number one clinical priority, and the centerpiece of a strategic plan to improve care quality and safety across its network.
“By literally putting all hospital staff, primary care practices, and offsite specialists on the same screen, eRecord keeps patients at the center – allowing our team to communicate seamlessly, work more efficiently, and ultimately deliver care that’s a greater value,” Berk said.
Coalescing data into a single system, eRecord ensures that all critical information pertaining to any given patient – allergy information, medication lists, test results, images, physician notes and more – populates a single chart, and is instantly at the fingertips of his entire care team.
“As you can imagine, this phase of our project represented a geographic challenge – and massive outlay of manpower resources – as we trained 5,500 outpatient clinic staff spread across 160-some outpatient practices,” said surgeon David Krusch, M.D., Chief Medical Information Officer at URMC. “But it’s certainly a worthwhile investment. In our hospitals, eRecord is already helping us work smarter, and sometimes, faster. For instance, our lab turn-around times have fallen 10 to 12 percent, and faculty and staff report that they are able to review their patient data faster. We anticipate enjoying similar benefits in our outpatient clinics.”
Empowering patients: MyChart technology
Perhaps the most notable change to outpatients is the dawn of MyChart, a new, secure patient portal specifically designed to complement eRecord.
The MyChart portal allows URMC patients to view portions of their medical record – including their health summary, current medications, allergies, immunizations, test results, and upcoming and past appointments – from a computer, iPhone or Droid.
Patients even can save themselves a phone call (and time waiting on hold) by submitting non-urgent questions or requests for prescription refills and/or appointments; if they like, they also can propose changes to their medications and allergies lists (the request is sent directly to their eRecord chart , to be reviewed by their healthcare team at their next visit).
Another convenient feature of MyChart is its capacity for “proxy access” – a feature in which a patient can grant permission for another person to view their MyChart. This attribute is a tremendous asset for parents eager to monitor their child’s health (e.g., immunization records), or for adult children seeking to help their elderly parents manage health conditions.
According to Wisconsin-based Epic Systems, which created both eRecord and MyChart technologies, the self-serve functions included in this personal health website encourage patients to take more active roles in their own care, ultimately cutting costs and increasing satisfaction. Some clinics have even observed efficiency boons, as the technology can reduce incoming call volume as much as 15 percent, saves paper and postage, and automatically “files” all email message exchanges right into the chart.
Oncology patients at URMC’s James P. Wilmot Cancer Center have been piloting the MyChart system for a year now. More than 2,500 patients are currently online with MyChart – many of them tapping the tool to actively monitor lab results and consult with their healthcare team.
Patients can learn more about MyChart by visiting www.urmc.rochester.edu/patients-families/mychart/.
More about eRecord
Designed and built with the help of Epic Systems – the same vendor behind EHR systems at number of top academic medical centers, like the Cleveland Clinic, NYU, and Mount Sinai – eRecord represents an investment of $78 million for the inpatient and outpatient components combined. The system is compatible with Rochester’s RHIO (Regional Health Information Organization) initiative to digitize medical records and share critical health information community-wide.
To learn more about URMC’s eRecord platform, visit http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/patient-care/erecord.