Contribute patient data for continuity of care:
Bloomington Medical Services case study
By Dottie Howe, M.A., M.Ed.
If you didn’t know it as a tech fact, you’d never realize that Bloomington Medical Services in Wooster automatically publishes data on some 19,000 patients to the CliniSync Health Information Exchange (HIE) on a secure, uninterrupted basis.
“CCD publishing is just happening; we don’t even know that it’s happening – it’s very smooth,” says Angela Steiner, Ambulatory Practice Manager at Bloomington Medical Services. “The process doesn’t slow the system down or return error messages.”
The Continuity of Care Document – CCD for short – tells you about the patient’s demographics, allergies, medications, problems, procedures, results, family history, immunizations, alcohol and tobacco use, care plans and other pertinent clinical information.
Angela worked with CliniSync staff to create a standard, direct interface so any time a medical record is updated within the practice’s electronic health record system, it automatically updates it in the CliniSync HIE. For instance, if a clinician changed a medication, it would then be updated within CliniSync. Prior to implementation, Angela worked to define the data to be shared before the project went live so it’s clear what would be updated.
Contribute provides other doctors and healthcare facilities with comprehensive information on Bloomington’s patients when they treat them. This is a multi-specialty practice with 23 providers – including physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, so it’s important that they have the most recent patient information at their fingertips. It’s equally important that they provide the latest and most inclusive data for other providers who treat their patients, such as primary care or specialists at other facilities.
“We can help the medical record follow the entire patient care episode to provide the best quality of care possible,” Angela says.
To date, 131 “live” hospitals have contributed the CCD to what is known as the Community Health Record, a longitudinal view of a patient’s most recent encounters at hospitals. When all hospitals connect, there will be 151 Ohio hospitals within the CliniSync community. To date, there are Community Health Records on 11.7 million patients, which is high because this includes out-of-state patients from hospitals bordering Ohio as well as the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. In all, some 4,500 participants have access to the Community Health Record.
Now, Bloomington Medical Services is one of four early adopters at the practice level.
Practical benefits of contributing data
If you think of a typical summary of care, or CCD, it’s about five pages minimum, which then must be handled manually, Angela explains.
“We definitely see the value in publishing. There’s reduced paper and reduced staff time. If a medical practice doesn’t have to print, manually handle the paper, and fax it to the requesting provider, time is saved. If the information is published, we can pull up the CCD and review it,” Angela says.
Utilizing the CCD allows a clinician to get the most up-to-date information they otherwise might not have at their fingertips.
If you retrieve continuity of care document, you can reconcile the medication and use the same process with the problem/diagnosis list. You may not know that the patient is diabetic, but now you can put that on your problem list,” she says.
Ultimately, the importance of contributing data may be most visible during an emergency event. For instance, Angela has a critical allergy to a medication, and if she is in a car accident and is unresponsive, that becomes a problem.
“There is no need to call another office, ask for the record to be faxed over, which could take, at a minimum, 20 minutes. Sometimes, it takes days to receive records from another practice,” she says.
To learn more about CliniSync services, please go to www.clinisync.org.