When Dr. Kelly Campbell has a patient in the hospital in labor, she can monitor the woman’s fetal heart rate and contraction pattern from her office via electronic medical records. This allows the doctor to tend to other tasks and patients while accurately assessing when she should hop in her car and head for the delivery room.
Electronic medical records – or EMRs – offer Dr. Campbell and her colleagues more efficient use of her time so that she can provide enhanced patient care. EMRs also offer other benefits for doctors and patients. They save time by facilitating e-mail communication when appropriate, eliminating the need to track someone down by phone and wait for a call back. EMRs also enhance efficiency and patient safety by: streamlining the billing process; offering quick access to more thorough and easier-to-read medical records, test results and images; offering a checklist of questions for doctors to ask related to various conditions and reminders for periodic tests; and reducing errors by eliminating handwritten prescriptions.
“A couple of clicks and it’s at the pharmacy,” says Dr. Campbell.
To utilize the EMR system it is important for patients to visit MyChart to set up their own personal and confidential account. This includes a brief medical history and insurance information. “When the patient has set up her own information, her doctor can access and will add to the electronic medical record. This allows me and my colleagues to save the patient time in the office,” explains Dr. Campbell. One question I’m asked frequently, explains Ellen Paxson, practice administrator, “is it confidential? My answer is emphatically YES. We’ve worked diligently to ensure that our medical records remain confidential – just like we would expect from our own doctors. An added benefit to our patients is that it saves time filling out forms in the office if an address or insurance changes.”
The EMR system at the Women’s Health and Menopause Center is the third Dr. Campbell has learned to use. The other two were at hospitals where she practices. She offers reassurance for learning to use the EMR system installed at her office, which has been available to patients for several months. By 2014, all physician offices will be required by the federal government to implement EMRs. “We decided to incorporate EMRs into our practice now because we saw the efficiencies for our patients and our doctors,” explains Paxson.
“It’s always challenging to learn a new system, but the system we picked is very intuitive and easy to learn,” she says. “That means our patients can easily complete their information too.”
Women who are cared for at the Women’s Health and Menopause Center are strongly encouraged to set up and utilize their personal MyChart account to: access all online services offered by your physician; enter demographic and insurance information; update your e-mail address; ask a billing question or pay a bill and view a history of your previous encounters. Your doctor may also communicate with you via e-mail. If you need help setting up your account, please call the office where an associate can assist you or answer your questions.