NMC’s conversion to a single, unified electronic health record has caused a temporary slow-down in the number of patient visits our practices could manage. Although we are now back at our prior levels of visits in the Specialty Clinics and Pediatrics, Primary Care uses the system most comprehensively and so, has had the greatest challenge. You may have noticed longer appointments in primary care and pediatric visits.
The complexity of a primary care appointment requires many steps in chart prep, medication reconciliation, and in-appointment screenings, among other things. The first time a patient interacts with the new electronic health records, all this behind-the-scenes work must be performed, including checking to make sure all data is accurate.
As patients come in for follow-up visits, the documentation in the new system grows easier. After the first visit where we go through verification to ensure an accurate and up-to-date record, subsequent visits will be quicker.
Full optimization of any new computer system takes time, and it is important that we take our time when it comes to your health data. So, although initial visits may take longer, the new unified record will be more efficient and effective in the long run.
This means you may be asked to verify a lot of information you’ve already told us since you first became a patient. We need to make sure the data that may have been handwritten in charts and in various practices is now all consolidated to the one electronic health record. While many of our practices used electronic medical records, an electronic health record contains information from all providers involved in a patient’s care. As you can imagine, that can be quite a lot of information to gather!
A unified record is easy to access for all your providers so that the information a specialist adds to the record is easily read and reviewed by your Primary Care Provider. A single home for your medical record also means no more logging into two systems to find your medical history!
Our electronic health record conversion has been an enormous undertaking, involving 45 physicians, 20 practices, and touching 14 million documents. We appreciate the community’s patience as we make this improvement and work steadily to bring NMC back to more typical levels of appointment availability.