The new system also simplifies the process for obtaining lab work. In the past, doctors had to forward lab work to the hospital and wait for results via fax. Now, lab-work results come back through the electronic system instantly.
Eye Care for the Adirondacks is now a part of the Healthcare Information Xchange New York and can access patient medical records from other physicians participating in the program.
This is very beneficial in the treatment of patients with such conditions as diabetes, since ophthalmologists can access blood work and prescription records of their patients, Martineau noted.
“If a patient comes in and doesn’t know his hemoglobin levels, we can look in the patient summary for that information,” she said.
The practice began the switch over two years ago and went live with its first physician on board, Dr. Kjell Dahlen, in January 2012. Then, another doctor was added to the system every four to six weeks until the entire practice became electronic by the end of the year.
“It was a huge endeavor,” Martineau said of the project. “It’s amazing what it offers us now that it’s up and running.”
Karen Champagne, clinical supervisor for the Plattsburgh office, said the new system has benefited all who use it.
“It’s made our work easier,” she said. “Now we don’t have down time looking for a patient’s charts. Everything is accessed immediately.”
Having the ability to send prescriptions to the pharmacy electronically also cuts down on the potential for mistakes in reading hand-written prescriptions, she added.
Staff was initially concerned about the complexity of switching over, but the process went smoothly and without difficulty, Champagne said.
“From a patient’s perspective, it is easier for physicians to share information on the patient,” added Dr. Robert Raut, an expert in retina procedures at the practice. “If a patient goes to Florida for the winter, it’s easier to send a more reliable assessment (if needed by another doctor while the patient is away) than by photo copy or fax.”
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