It was Jan. 2, and Dana Dye was Dr. Greg Jenkins’ first patient of the day and of the year. Her visit was ordinary—just a wellness checkup. But the timing of her visit was extraordinary, almost providential.
“Dr. Jenkins and I joked that this looked like it was a setup that I was there,” said Dye.
That’s because Dye is the vice president and chief nurse executive for Baptist Memorial Health Care, and her appointment just happened to coincide with the day Baptist’s new electronic health record system, called Baptist OneCare, went live. Dye’s physician’s group is one of the Baptist-affiliated clinics to introduce the premier system developed by Epic.
“They did a great job of using it,” said Dye. “He and I were looking at my record together on the screen. We were going over all of my information.”
Dye’s health information included her recent visit to the emergency department. The ED informed her physician of the visit and any medications she was prescribed. During Dye’s checkup with her physician, this information appeared in the EHR.
“There’s a new medication that I was put on in the emergency department, and immediately his staff had put it in when they got alerted by the emergency department,” said Dye. “And when he hovered over it, there was this little red dot by it … It talked about interactions with another medication that I’m on.”
By highlighting any adverse medication interactions or other concerns, the EHR provides an additional safety net. Because the patient’s entire record is there, physicians don’t have to rely on their memories or check paper records to identify any potential issues or complications from existing medications. The system really helps to remove human error and adds a fail-safe that benefits the patient. This was a benefit that Dye experienced.
“We looked at the risks and benefits [of the medication],” said Dye. “We decided it was OK, but we decided together it was OK.”
A common theme of Dye’s visit was her involvement in the decisions about her care. She and her physician made decisions together about what was best for her. The Epic technology encouraged conversation between Dye and her physician, rather than adding a barrier to communication, which was a concern of hers.
“I was a little bit worried,” said Dye. “Is he [Dr. Jenkins] going to be distracted by all of this? He really wasn’t. It helped guide the whole conversation.”
At the end of Dye’s visit, she received a printout of everything that happened, including any lab work and the date of her next appointment. Her firsthand experience as a patient with the EHR system she helped plan the implementation of had come to an end. And her experience was exactly what she and the rest of the Baptist OneCare team had hoped it would be.
“It was awesome,” said Dye. “It was really awesome to sit there and look at it all together.”