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Richmond medical practice completes second phase of technology overhaul
Hallmarks include integration and improved quality, efficiency and security
RICHMOND, VA – It’s not news that hospitals and, especially, medical practices have been slow to adopt electronic health records. A long debate stacks value against cost, among other factors. The health care industry has been slower and even more guarded in adopting social media tactics for connecting with current and prospective patients. Concerns include protecting patient confidentiality and security as well as responding to online commentary. Meanwhile, in every other aspect of our society, we depend on technology: to make a restaurant reservation, to do banking and to purchase books, clothing and even vacations.
One Richmond-area medical practice has been intentional – if not innovative – about embracing technology to yield an improved experience for patients. Virginia Women’s Center, the 2009 Davies Award winner for implementation and use of electronic health records, today announced completion of work on a secure patient portal: the door for patients to manage their healthcare needs with the practice online. In other words, an open door to the future of medicine.
Through Virginia Women’s Center’s secure patient portal, a product of Kryptiq, patients can make online appointments, pay their bill, view their electronic health record, receive prompt notification of lab and test results and communicate with their Virginia Women’s Center care team – whether for requesting a prescription refill or asking a routine question.
“We know our patients are busy,” said Virginia Women’s Center Administrator, Brenda Burgess. “That’s why we have been dedicated to expanding our service lines to complement the obstetrics and gynecology care that we have provided since the late 1960s.”
The practice has always operated with onsite labs for routine draws. It added onsite maternal-fetal medicine services in 1997, bone health in 1998, psychology in 2004, urology in 2006, digital mammography in 2007, and obstetrical genetic counseling in 2010.
Burgess continued, “The additional services, however, don’t do the job if patients’ results are not integrated with one another and available to all of the specialty providers. Furthermore, continued quality of care and security of their health information is a given. Our infrastructure is set up to deliver those things.”
Virginia Women’s Center began the quest to improve the patient experience through the use of technology in 1996 when the group first began research on electronic health records. The practice converted to an electronic medical record in 2005. Across the practice’s five clinical locations, tons of paper medical charts have been transferred to offsite storage. Physicians, nurse practitioners and other clinical staff carry electronic tablets. And patient response has been extremely positive.
What’s next for the practice in terms of technology? Dr. Kay Stout, practicing physician and Director of Clinical Informatics at Virginia Women’s Center, reported that in addition to the continued fine tuning of the Web site and electronic health records system, teams will start working on text message appointment reminders and a Web site application for mobile devices. “The opportunities that accompany our implementation of technology make it an exciting time to be in this field,” she said.