SGCMH joins Missouri Health Connection

3/26/2015

Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital (SGCMH) has joined the growing number of health care providers in the state to adopt Missouri Health Connection’s (MHC) statewide electronic platform that allows providers to exchange patient records for greater efficiency, security, and continuity of care.

As an MHC participant, SGCMH’s physicians and care team members can quickly access their patients’ records—not only from the hospital and physician offices, but from a variety of hospitals and clinics across the state, securely, instantly and electronically.

SGCMH updated its electronic medical record system last year.

“We have the latest and greatest that our computer vendor offers,” said Judy Schmieder, RN and Director of Clinical Informatics. “We also rolled out a new patient portal. It makes it easier to share the information between the hospital and clinics. Plus the patient portal allows you to see your own medical record—view lab results, x-rays, medication lists, allergies, etc. You can even request appointments and send a message to your doctor in the doctor’s office. It’s a great tool.”

Since the stage has been set locally for all the parties at SGCMH to easily communicate information, they will go live with the Missouri Health Connection in May. Schmieder gave just one of hundreds of possible scenarios where this “connection” will benefit the patient.

“If you were in a severe accident in St. Louis and was allergic to a specific medication, but was unable to communicate this to the ER where you were brought, that information, if you provided your consent, is just a click away. Just entering the patient name and birthday will retrieve a summary that combines information from all other MHC participants. We are excited to begin educating our patients about this new opportunity and how it can significantly improve the coordination of their care and could potentially save lives in an emergency situation.”
Schmieder also explained that SGCMH providers will also get a more complete picture of their patients’ previous tests, medications and medical condition.
“Some patients receive care from multiple providers, as is the case when seeing a specialist.” she said. “Having easy access to health information at the time of care avoids redundant testing, and services can be reduced. It also eliminates the faxing of records back and forth. With MHC, SGCMH can get instantly updated on the patient’s treatment and medications from other providers. Because it’s a network, you aren’t dependent on the other facility to process your request for records, and the records are more secure than they can be with faxing.”
Schmieder explained how one goes about giving permission for their information to get connected to Missouri Health Connection.

“We’ll start at the hospital first. Beginning on April 15, when you come in to register for a procedure, test or when being admitted, the consent forms will be made available. You can then sign a consent form to participate. That’s really all there is to it.”

She explained that later this year, the consent forms will be rolled out at all physician clinics.

MHC is the state-designated (HIE) organization that provides secure and private electronic platform for sharing health information, which improves communication, efficiency, and quality of care. It allows doctors and other care givers immediate access to a patient’s up-to-date health information to provide the best possible and most comprehensive care. MHC provides services for health care providers to carry forward MHC’s mission of improving the quality of health care by coordinating care, reducing preventable errors, and avoiding treatment duplication.

Schmieder is amazed at the electronic capabilities of today’s healthcare.

“Twenty years ago, who would have thought we would have electronic health records of any sort?” she said. “Now we have robust EMR systems, patient portals and statewide exchange of records. It’s only a matter of time before the technology allows us to go nationwide and beyond.”

For more information on the Missouri Health Connection, contact them directly at 573-777-4550 or on their website MissouriHealthConnection.org.

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