News Release Date : 04/21/2006
St. Mary’s of Michigan Heritage Family Practice Goes High-Tech
The challenges of operating a medical practice are many. From keeping track of appointments to keeping track of laboratory results, prescriptions and the requirements of insurance companies, the need for organization can seem daunting at times.
At St. Mary’s of Michigan Heritage Family Practice, the challenge is being met with technology. The group of four family physicians is among the first primary care physician offices in the area to implement an electronic health records (EHR) system.
The system puts a tablet PC in the hands of the doctor instead of the usual clipboard. The physician is notified when a patient is ready for the doctor, the patient’s office records, any test reports that have been received by the office, and other pertinent information are all at the physicians finger tips. Beyond that, the system has drastically reduced the need for pulling patient records. “We used to manually pull up to 1,000 records every single day,” says Dr. Raghu Sarvepalli, M.D. “Now we only have to pull about 100 records per day.”
The system offers a number of advantages that should help physicians improve patient care:
- An interface with the Medical Center’s laboratory will enable lab results to be fed directly into the patient’s permanent electronic health record. The physician will be alerted on the screen that there are new lab results available for review. This should greatly reduce any potential for lost or improperly filed records and reduce the work associated with filing lab reports in paper records.
- The potential for adverse drug interactions are a great concern to physicians. The EHR will alert physicians if there are potential drug interactions between any current prescription medications, and any new prescriptions being ordered.
- When the physician is done seeing the patient, the click of a button can print and fax prescriptions or other patient education information, right in the exam room, meaning the patient can check out faster.
- The “paper chase” in the physician office is greatly reduced, resulting in a much more pleasant working environment for everyone concerned.
After months of planning the practice “went live” recently. That the implementation went extremely well was a credit to all concerned. Implementation of the EHR system across the entire St. Mary’s of Michigan Primary Care Network of 8 physician offices is expected to occur over the next two years.