Can you imagine checking your medical history on your phone? Or going to your personal computer to request a medication refill from your doctor’s office? Starting Jan. 1, 2014, Baptist patients will be able to do these things.
Baptist OneCare, Baptist’s new electronic health record system developed by Epic Systems, will connect all health care providers and entities through one chart for each patient. And for the first time, that one chart will extend beyond those providing care to the patient.
“We can now bridge that gap in information that’s historically been the issue,” said Derick Ziegler, administrator and CEO of Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis. “Unless you put in a request for a copy of that paper medical record, it’s very difficult to go back and have access to that paper record. That speaks volumes about the benefit of going to an electronic medical record, much like what Epic has to offer and will provide to us.”
Epic is recognized as the industry leader in electronic health record systems, which is why Baptist chose Epic to develop the Baptist OneCare system. A prime example of Epic’s progressive technology and focus on the patient is MyChart, the secure portal that gives patients controlled access to the same health record that their physicians and clinicians use. Through MyChart, patients can view their test results, disease history, medications list, allergies and online statements. They also can schedule appointments, request medication refills, complete previsit paperwork/questionnaires, pay bills and securely message their physicians.
“Patients will be able to see their medical records and access their medical records very, very quickly,” said Dr. Thomas Greenwell, OB-GYN and managing partner of Mid-South OB/GYN. “Patients will be able to take ownership of their health care in a way they haven’t been able to in the past.”
If patients remember that they need to schedule an appointment after normal business hours, they can do that through MyChart. Or if they have a question about a medication they’re taking or some other therapy prescribed by their physician, they can communicate with their physician’s office through MyChart.
“I think it’s more about ‘I can get engaged in my care,’” said Beverly Jordan, vice president and chief clinical transformation officer for Baptist Memorial Health Care. “The doctor’s office can send me a reminder that I have not had my flu shot, or the doctor can send me a reminder that I haven’t come back in to have my blood glucose checked.”
The goal is to achieve better care for patients. By establishing an easy communication channel and giving patients greater access to their health information, patients can take a more active role in managing and improving their health wherever they are.
“The bottom line is this is just a tool,” said Dr. Jack Brown, chief medical information officer for Baptist. “This doesn’t replace good medicine, but this tool will allow the patient to truly become the center of their own health care. It will give them the tool for them to take ownership of their health care, and it will give a tool for everyone involved in health care – whether it’s in the hospital, whether it’s in the office, whether it’s something happening in the home – a great tool to communicate and make sure that everyone gets better heath care.”
Those who are responsible for another family member, such as a child or parent, can gain access to that person’s record through MyChart as well. This access to current and accurate information will allow patients, their families and their health care providers to work together to ensure the best outcomes for all involved.
“We cannot change health care as an industry,” said Jordan. “We have to change it on an individual level. I have to start caring about my own health, and MyChart allows me to do that.”