Shared Electronic Health Record
A Key to High-Quality, Safer Care
By Roy Hitchings, President & CEO, Pen Bay Healthcare
Today’s medical records are a mix of paper and electronic files spread across multiple locations and healthcare systems. For healthcare providers, it can be difficult to gather and review all the relevant information needed for a comprehensive understanding of each patient. For patients, it often means answering the same questions multiple times at different locations.
MaineHealth’s Shared Electronic Health Record (or SeHR, pronounced “share”) will make “one patient, one record” a reality across the entire MaineHealth system. As a member of this state-wide system, we are able to take part in initiatives that improve the way care is delivered to patients who may use more than one MaineHealth facility (such as Waldo County General Hospital, St. Andrews, or Maine Medical Center). All Pen Bay physician practices (part of Pen Bay Physicians & Associates) implemented SeHR on February 1, 2012.
Using SeHR, providers in various locations and across all specialties will have instant access to the same record. Patients will get quick access to health information and the ability to take a more active role in their healthcare. SeHR will dramatically enhance patient care and the health of the communities we serve.
Some of the many benefits of SeHR, the Shared Electronic Health Record, include:
Anywhere/anytime access (with appropriate confidentiality and security) to data by caregivers and patients.
Timely, relevant, complete information and the ability to quickly share information among all caregivers, which will allow more effective collaboration across the MaineHealth system for patient treatment.
Quick patient access to health information and the ability to take a more active role in one’s own healthcare. In the near future, patients will have access to view their medical records through a secure online portal called MyChart.
Patients will begin receiving convenient combined billing statements as providers convert to SeHR over the next two years. Eventually, you will receive one bill that lists all of your visits to any of the MaineHealth providers.
“A paper chart can only be in one place at one time,” said Bill Caron, President of MaineHealth. “SeHR provides an opportunity to collaborate more effectively across the health system to deliver the best possible care.”
SeHR is much more than an electronic version of old paper records. With SeHR, clinicians can immediately communicate essential information to multiple providers, access data and ensure continuity through all stages of care. SeHR’s “one patient, one record” enhances collaboration, allowing interdisciplinary teams to more easily arrive at a cohesive care plan. An important part of SeHR is MyChart, which will allow patients quick access to their own health information and the ability to take a more active role in their healthcare – a proven factor in better health outcomes.
Across the country, many hospitals and healthcare facilities are moving to embrace the shared electronic health record system as an important step toward efficiency and improved patient care. The federal government is providing significant incentives for healthcare providers to implement electronic health records. Eventually, hospitals without electronic records will lose a portion of their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.
Pen Bay Physicians & Associates is among the first of the MaineHealth organizations to launch SeHR. Maine Medical Center will begin using SeHR in October 2012. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, SeHR will be launched at Pen Bay Medical Center. Other MaineHealth member organizations will follow.
During the implementation of this large-scale project, your patience is appreciated as the doctors, nurses, and staff, learn the most efficient way to work on this new system. We have been planning for and training on this new system over the past months, but some delays may occur as everyone gets up to speed. Please ask your provider or any of their office staff if you have questions about SeHR.
Thank you for your patience and continued support as we take this next step in improving the health of our community through the Shared Electronic Health Record initiative.
Roy Hitchings has been President & CEO of Pen Bay Healthcare for over 13 years, and was instrumental in facilitating Pen Bay’s membership in the MaineHealth system.