Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

May 22, 2013

HEALTH: New electronic record system meant to give doctors instant access to patient information

Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — Jacksonville soon will be utilizing a new electronic health record system designed to give physicians in the network instant information about a particular patient they're treating, even if that patient isn't a local resident.

The OneChart program was launched last spring in Tyler, according to the East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System, and has been “truly transformational,” said Paula Anthony, hospital vice president and chief information officer.

“Everyone benefits; physicians and clinical caregivers have access to the information and tools they need to manage patient care like never before,” she said, describing that because it is computerized, information can be accessed any time of day by any physician in the 15-hospital system.

Eventually, OneChart will include a patient portal, allowing individuals access to their own health information from any web browser, according to a hospital press release.

“Our mission is to improve the quality of life in our region. Therefore, we understand that our electronic health information systems must be open and able to communicate with providers throughout East Texas,” Anthony said.

While the system's First Physicians clinics have been integrated through a common electronic health record since 2010, last spring – with funding through a grant –  ETMC Tyler launched OneChart, based on the nationally renowned Siemens Soarian platform, to create a paperless, fully integrated electronic health record for hospital patients, according to the release.

The hospital network is just “one of 12 grant recipients charged by the state of Texas with the responsibility for developing a regional health information exchange,” the release added.

The First Net Exchange will allow users – both ETMC and non-ETMC facilities – access to patient healthcare information to create a seamless delivery of treatment simply because physicians can access needed information. To date, more than 700 physicians and nearly 30 hospitals across the region have signed letters of interest with First Net Exchange.

The concept “is impressive and holds tremendous promise,” but its success can only be truly gauged through real-world situations, Anthony said, describing an incident last year in which a patient arrived at the ETMC facility in Pittsburg, “suffering from an apparent stroke.

“The family remembered that the patient had been at ETMC Tyler within the past month, but couldn’t remember the doctor’s name or the details of that admission,” she recalled.

However, because of OneChart, “within seconds, the Pittsburg emergency department doctors had access to the patient’s record from Tyler – everything, lab work, scans, progress notes, everything.”

This data-sharing helps helps improve healthcare delivery because of its efficiency.

“Healthcare is not a static process; people move from place to place as their healthcare needs and life situations change – (we are) offering an open system and (are) committed to working with different providers and information platforms to share data in a safe and secure manner,” Anthony said. This “puts the needs of the patient first.”