User-friendly electronic medical record-keeping

By By HENRY BAILEY

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (AP) — Zach Chandler, a vice president in Baptist Memorial Healthcare's corporate office, is plugged into a system that's the latest, user-friendly face of interactive electronic medical record-keeping. In days, it'll be available in DeSoto County.

Memphis-based Chandler can monitor the care of his mother in faraway Texas, which switched to the MyChart software system last year. Indeed, anytime she's in the hospital, her son can "see" the record of her care.

The Baptist system takes in 14 hospitals, including Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto in Southaven, and four minor medical centers, with one in Olive Branch. It's at the minor meds that a major e-event occurs Jan. 1 the phase one "go live" switchover to Baptist OneCare and the available MyChart for end users, meaning care-delivery staff, patients and the public.

Baptist Medical Group has 520 medical providers at clinics. Beverly Jordan, BMH's vice president/chief clinical transformation officer, is coordinating the massive electronic medical record switchover that, when complete in a year and a half, will link the system's 15,000 staff and physicians with patients and their families.

The system will be fully compliant with all state and federal laws on access and security. It's new, high-tech stuff, but also in sync with a 101-year tradition, Jordan said of the system's partnering with the Wisconsin-based Epic software firm.

"It's all about improving patient care," she said. "This is an extension of that mission, making sure we can tell the patient's story wherever the patient is."

And doing it in a way that "improves the patient experience and one that contributes to a sustainable model of health care in this country," she said.

Using a computer or the free MyChart app, a patient can refill prescriptions, slate physician appointments, keep an up-to-date, always accessible record of allergies, immunizations and medications plus pay bills online.

"It allows the clinical care and billing systems to be integrated, and that's a first," Jordan said.

The access to information will be empowering for patients, she said, and vital for those in the public "who want to help their children make healthy lifestyle choices, or look after the care of their parents."

The switch has been in the works for months, with preparing of managerial "super users," and there was a dress rehearsal for end-user staff at the minor med in Cordova, Tenn., in mid-December.

At the minor med center in Olive Branch, Janice Jackson, director of all four centers, and Janie Basford, compliance officer and nurse, conferred on the eve of the rollout.

"It's going really well; we're excited about it," said Jackson.

At the triage room, Basford and center medical assistant Maria Salas viewed the MyChart "playground," or teaching version. Basford noted that medical records will be available through the system on personal computers and smartphones for patients who choose so during the intake process. Codes and passwords are a central part.

"Doctors will be able to send prescriptions through the Internet," said Basford. "Have you ever seen a doctor's handwriting? This new way eliminates the possibility of errors through misreading."

Overall, Salas said of Baptist OneCare and MyChart, "it's easier, a better flow, more logical in the connections and just a safer atmosphere for everybody." For the four minor meds, that means at least 60,000 patients per year, said Jackson.

Salas doesn't see any big problems with the move. It just flies with the flock.

"We're busy bees here," she said.

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Online:

Baptist OneCare and MyChart, http://www.baptistonecare.org

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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com

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