Establishing Area's First Ambulatory EMR Interface, Washington Hospital Exceeds Expectations From Affiliated Practices
The Washington Hospital, a community teaching hospital near Pittsburgh, has long made it a priority to improve clinical integration with the 220 providers in its physician hospital organization. So when, a few years ago, several of the largest, most influential specialty practices within the Washington Physician Hospital Organization (WPHO) began clamoring for relief from the heavy volume of paper-based patient records they were receiving from the hospital, Washington Hospital was receptive to their call.
Director of Medical Management
The Washington Hospital
According to Denise Abraham, WPHO’s director of medical management, Washington Hospital understood the benefits of delivering patient records electronically to affiliated practices. Aside from eliminating paperwork and improving practice efficiency, EMR interfaces could improve physician decision-making by delivering rapid, easy access to patient medical records.
Establishing an EMR interface, however, can be quite a challenge. In order to ensure that it would get the solution it needed, Washington Hospital established several key objectives:
- A single physician-centric system that would interface with the 15 different EMRs in use at 33 practices;
- Electronic transfer of and access to records for the 56 practices that did not have EMRs;
- Limiting demands on hospital IS staff, especially when it came to creating multiple EMR interfaces.
Launching the Washington Health Information Network
Abraham and her colleagues at the hospital evaluated systems from three vendors. The hospital selected the Health Information Exchange and Enterprise Access technologies and services from MobileMDTM. MobileMD's proven ability to interface with and support numerous EMRs was among the deciding factors for Washington Hospital.
According to Abraham, "MobileMD put us in touch with one of their clients, who gave us a very positive review of their capabilities and confirmed for us that, yes, interfacing with numerous ambulatory EMRs was not just possible, but readily accomplished."
Washington Hospital also appreciated the cost-effectiveness of the MobileMD system, which is a fully outsourced ASP. Moreover, MobileMD demonstrated flexibility in customizing the solution to meet the hospital's unique cost-sharing model with WPHO.
Implementation of the Washington Health Information Network (WHIN), powered by MobileMD’s two solutions, began in September 2007, and a pilot implementation at several practices began in December 2007.
Today, 77 of 89 eligible affiliated practices use MobileMD the Health Information Exchange solution. Practices now have real-time access to a comprehensive “document tree” that contains their patients’ full historical record of in-patient and out-patient treatment, including lab results, pathology results, radiology results, cardiac cath lab and cardiac special procedures reports, admission history & physical reports, consultation reports, discharge summaries, EKG reports, and ER visit notifications.
Positive Developments All Around
Response from the affiliated practices has been overwhelmingly positive. Clinicians report that accessing records at their office helps them prepare more efficiently for rounds. Physicians praise the interface for improving on-call decision-making, especially when contacted by their colleagues’ patients, since the system allows physicians to access a patient history from anywhere.
From the hospital’s perspective, the interface has improved patient safety by underscoring the importance of identifying the patient by a consistent name (for example, Robert instead of Bob or Bobby), date of birth and other identifiers.
Abraham also points to the dramatic reduction in calls to medical records and diagnostic department staff. With substantially fewer calls to request records or follow up, staff productivity has improved.
And by being the first hospital in the area to establish an EMR interface with affiliated physicians, Washington Hospital has not only met a pressing need, but also solidified its position as a facility that is responsive to physicians and, thus, more attractive for referring patients.
Through the whole process, Abraham and her colleagues have been very pleased with MobileMD's systems and with their commitment to adding new features and capabilities. "MobileMD has always been very responsive to our needs," Abraham says, "and we are very impressed by their commitment to constant improvement. With the new functionalities they’ve added and ones coming soon, we feel confident that we’ll always be exceeding our physician’s high expectations."