Patients are experiencing the need for a bit more patience at Virginia Gay’s Family Medical Clinics as a result of upgrades to health care software that will improve access to all their health information.
“We’re setting-up every patient’s information when they come for their first appointment now that we’re using the new software and unfortunately, that takes more time,” explains Melissa Macku, Director of Clinic Operations, “It also means we’re not able to see as many patients as usual and that’s causing delays in getting appointments. At the same time we think it’s worth the inconvenience now because the new system is going to give our patients and our care providers access to all the health information in one place, whenever they need to access it.”
Melissa also explains that while there is no good time to do a software installation, cold and flu season makes it worse. “We’ve been working on this for months. Unfortunately the hospital partner guiding us through the process, University of Iowa Health Care, and the electronic healthcare software provider, EPIC, only had this time slot available for us.”
Patients of Virginia Gay Hospital and Clinics will soon be able to see their own medical record 24 hours a day, 7 days a week wherever they are. Patients will be able to track their own test results and read the notes from their visits. The system will make available information from Virginia Gay providers and will also show detailed information of treatments received at St. Luke’s, Mercy, University of Iowa Health and many area specialists. Care providers at those institutions will also be able to see detailed notes, records of treatment, and all the information from visits made to Virginia Gay Hospital and the Virginia Gay Family Medical clinics.
On a very practical level, the new system also means Virginia Gay patients will no longer receive one bill from Virginia Gay Hospital for tests or procedures and another from the Virginia Gay Family Medical Clinic.
Mike Riege, Virginia Gay Hospital Administrator, mentioned another advantage to the new system when he said, “Everyone is concerned about the high cost of health care and one of the issues driving that cost is inefficiency in the medical office. We’ve all experienced it. How many times have you filled-out a different piece of paper with the same information in a different medical office? How many times has your visit been delayed while someone tries to find test results or paper records? This system has a proven record of reducing costs and of giving patients the opportunity to take a more active part in their own health. I know that doesn’t help the mom with a sick child waiting to see a doctor, but for us, this is the medicine we need to take so everyone gets better sooner.”