Danville, Pa. — Widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHR) could be enhanced if large, digitally advanced healthcare providers worked with smaller physician practices and community hospitals, reports the CIO of Geisinger Health System.
Geisinger, a Danville, Pa., integrated health services organization, is comprised of two medical center campuses, three hospitals, a 720-member group practice, a not-for-profit health insurance company and the Geisinger Center for Health Research.
A recent national survey [conducted by the group] found that just 4% of physicians have a fully functional Electronic Health Record (EHR). In light of that survey, Geisinger CIO Frank Richards said it’s important for systems such as Geisinger to share resources, as well as lessons learned from implementing these systems.
“The EHR can improve healthcare quality and efficiency, remove geographic barriers between physicians and their patients and empower consumers,” Richards said. “There are economies of scale—it can get expensive the smaller the practice.”
Geisinger has spent $90 million in the last 12 years developing its information technology infrastructure and EHR, the firm reports. Having learned from its experiences, Geisinger is working with regional providers to put more digital technology to use for patients.
Geisinger helped establish a network with regional hospitals to share information about trauma victims, started telemedicine programs for services such as pediatric cardiology and has started an e-prescribing program with local pharmacies.
In April, the group registered 100,000 patients for the system’s Internet patient portal (MyGeisinger) an online tool that allows patients to contact their physicians directly, make appointments and pay medical bills 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“MyGeisinger dramatically improves the dynamic between patient and healthcare provider and ultimately improves the quality of patient care,” said Geisinger President and CEO Glenn Steele Jr., MD, PhD. “We will continue our efforts to register interested patients and move to the next major milestone.”
Geisinger also has worked with national healthcare leaders about EHR use and safety. “The bottom line is that providers can learn a lot from each other,” Richards said. “If you share these EHR resources, you can improve patient care.”
Sources: Newswise, Geisinger Health System
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