MANSFIELD, Ohio – Personal health information is now more accessible for OhioHealth patients and their healthcare providers. OhioHealth invested $20 million into the hospitals in order to provide an electronic medical record system that will make it easier for patients and healthcare providers to access important health information.
CareConnect, powered by Epic, went live at OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital and OhioHealth Shelby Hospital on March 10. Mansfield and Shelby hospitals are now better connected to OhioHealth’s hospitals in central Ohio as well as OhioHealth Urgent Care and OhioHealth Physician Group specialty and primary care practices.
Going live with CareConnect will allow the hospitals to have a truly integrated system – one record for each patient. This will improve communication between the clinical team and patients through ease of access to health information.
“We will be able to share information from the hospital to the outpatient setting much more seamlessly,” said Dr. Gavin Baumgardner, vice president of medical affairs, for Mansfield Hospital and Shelby Hospital.
Kelly Dials, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care, for both hospitals, agreed and described CareConnect as a “one stop” of real-time documentation for the clinical team to see.
“It improves handoffs, whether that’s from nursing to nursing or physician to physician,” she said. “This truly allows us to be an integrated system.”
Because this medical record system is so widely used by other hospitals throughout the country — more than 200 million patients currently have an electronic record in Epic — physicians may view their patients’ medical records from other hospitals that also use the system easily, Baumgardner said.
“If, for example, patients have studies done at another Epic-supported medical facility in Ohio or even Florida, our doctors here will be able to access those records without going through a laborious process of requesting records and having them mailed or faxed over,” Baumgardner said. “It saves precious time, plus a complete record provides a better picture. That’s really a key point for continuity of care.”
Physicians will also be able to capture data and track results more efficiently.
“The reporting functions of Epic are really robust, and they’re going to help us track our outcomes and our results even better than we did before,” he added.
Further, Epic grants hospitals access to best practices in the nation.
“We’re actually able to see best practices across the country and borrow from other experts without having to reinvent the wheel, so that’s the one of the nice things about being part of a larger system like Epic,” Baumgardner said.
Personalized online access
OhioHealth MyChart is a free, simple, secure and convenient way for patients to manage their healthcare. MyChart, which can be accessed online or via the OhioHealth app, offers patients personalized online access to portions of their medical records. Patients still have the option of requesting medical records in-person at hospital registration or through MyChart.
“We encourage folks to sign up for MyChart, because it gives them access to their medical information and it increases portability of their medical records,” Baumgardner said.
MyChart allows patients to message their care team, schedule appointments, pay bills, see test results, refill medications, prepare for upcoming appointments with FirstStep, and complete an e-visit.
E-visits allow established patients to visit healthcare providers directly from their computer instead of making an office visit. This is a new way for patients to get the medical care they need from wherever they are. E-visits are for non-urgent medical conditions, such as: back pain, cough, eye redness, indigestion & heartburn, urinary problems, cold & sinus, diarrhea, headache, tired (fatigue) and vaginal discharge/irritation.
“For a limited number of diagnoses, patients don’t have to schedule an in-person appointment with their physician. Patients can conveniently schedule an electronic visit,” Baumgardner said.
In addition to patients accessing their own medical record, another advantage of MyChart is for caregivers. Proxy Access can be given for family members who are active in the patient’s medical care and would like to communicate with that family member’s providers. Examples could be a parent or guardian of a minor or a family member/caregiver of an adult (who has consented to Proxy Access).
At the end of the day, the project has the patient in mind.
“We've always had the patient at the center of what we do, and now this system makes it easier to do that,” Baumgardner said.