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What Health IT Does for You!

Hospital news | Monday, September 16, 2013
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Contact: Mardi Ford

Empowering the Patient by Engaging in Healthcare IT

Celebrate National Healthcare Information Technology Week with us beginning September 16th. This nationwide event provides an opportunity to showcase how Grande Ronde Hospital’s technology efforts allow our patients and their healthcare providers to benefit from the rapidly evolving world of healthcare information technologies (HIT).

HIT has moved beyond the basic implementation projects of the past to include best practices in healthcare delivery while leveraging complicated software systems designed to provide support for meaningful and timely clinical decisions and reduce errors, while also improving patient communications and the delivery of high quality care.

Today, medical information no longer resides only with the doctor, but belongs also to the patient. More than ever before, healthcare is patient-centered. At Grande Ronde Hospital (GRH), we believe that engaging patients in their own healthcare decisions is crucial to providing the best care possible. Our HIT team has a significant role in this because increasing patient engagement includes an increasing number of ePatients – consumers who use their computers, tablets and smartphones to manage their healthcare; including their health records and history by using these digital tools.

These ePatients will help drive improved physician workflow efficiency, patient safety and overall quality of care. This new empowered consumer-patient continues to seek the “high quality, affordable access” to healthcare they have consistently demanded of us, but they are also savvier in taking control and managing their healthcare data. In essence, our HIT team becomes another member of your local care team by facilitating the standard you have come to expect at GRH through our implementation of Patient Portals and Personal Health Records (PHRs).

Healthcare is Patient-Centered and Consumer-Empowered Along with international HIT efforts, the GRH system’s transition to Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) and Electronic Health Records (EHRs) at our physician offices, clinics and hospital has made available a mature, dependable bank of patient healthcare data. Technology is now able to focus on PHRs to meet the demand of those patients who want to be better informed and more engaged in their own healthcare.

PHRs enable patients to control and manage a personal, but mobile, collection of portable data fed from different electronic and non-electronic sources. PHRs allow patients to input personal health information and past medical history to which providers may not have ready access. Patients can then share that stored information with a provider at home or anywhere in the country, in case of an emergency or upon relocating.

Grande Ronde Hospital is investing into a community-based solution for an independent 3rd-party platform that will provide such capabilities for healthcare consumers in the region. Powered by one of the largest vendors in the world, RelayHealth, our PHR is accessed as MyHealth from the Grande Ronde Hospital website: www.grh.org - for the Grande Ronde valley and its surrounding areas. MyHealth is available for all GRH system patients, as well as for any other interested independent providers within our communities; and we have already covered any subscription and development costs for those independents who want to join.

MyHealth already allows patients to securely message their provider and care team; improving patient-provider communications. MyHealth also allows patients to request appointments, prescription refills, view diagnostic testing results, and manage your personal health record. MyHealth will soon be adding detailed financial statements to the online bill pay capability that already exists on our web site.

Mobile Healthcare is Future of Care Delivery The mobile health market will continue to disrupt and create new business models, eventually leading to improved access to care, patient engagement, and greater consumer satisfaction. Patient providers are increasingly using tablets as their preferred mobile device, primarily due to the ready access of EHRs, drug reference materials, and a host of valuable data that in the past was only available in the office. Thanks to advances in telemedicine, physical proximity to one’s healthcare provider is not necessary in many cases. Physicians in some areas are already able to provide quality healthcare via “e-visits” – also known as digital house calls in the outpatient setting or tele-presence in the inpatient setting. E-visits have the potential to improve the efficiency of patient care while containing costs.

Healthcare Information Technology is a very important component of any modern healthcare environment. The more we embrace it, the better off we will be as consumers of the services, and the better we will be able to engage in our own healthcare.