Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Consolidating patient records

By Mark Brousseau

As they move to electronic medical records (EMRs), one challenge for healthcare providers is how to consolidate electronic access to all of a patient’s documents.

Citizens Memorial Healthcare, which is made up of a hospital, 25 clinics, five long-term care facilities and a cancer center, has licked this problem by using ImageNow from Perceptive Software to tie together documents not captured in its Meditech 5.6 EMR system, including EKGs, radiology reports, outside lab results, wound and surgical photos and registration photos. This integration has allowed Citizens Memorial Healthcare to create a shared medical record across its enterprise.

In its EMR environment, regardless of visit, a patient’s documents are organized under a common number. To access documents related to an account that were not captured at the point-of-service by the EMR, the provider launches ImageNow in the background, allowing documents from either application to be displayed in the EMR system. To speed retrieval, ImageNow indexes documents in several categories; for instance, physicians can view patient diagnostics without having to look through registration documents. Documents also can be retrieved across accounts.

Electronic documents are created at the point-of-registration or via scanning later.

For primary care physicians that don’t have a way to get their EMR records into Citizens Memorial Healthcare’s system, ImageNow provides the ability to “scrape” data off of incoming faxes. As faxes come in to Citizens Memorial Healthcare, they are placed in a workflow queue where an employee triggers the technology.

“Our long-term goal is to have a true interface with Meditech for these documents. But we don’t have that in place now. ImageNow has provided that availability,” Tim Roberts, IS specialist, Citizens Memorial Healthcare, said yesterday during a presentation at Perceptive Software’s Inspire 2011 user conference in Las Vegas.

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