Keeping Closer Tabs on Referred Patients
Date: July 1, 2013
One feature of Epic, the new electronic medical record and billing system being implemented by Johns Hopkins, is sure to excite primary care physicians. Part of the system, called Epic CareLink, will give referring physicians a larger window into the care their patients receive once they enter the Johns Hopkins system and provide an interactive way to access far more information about a patient’s visit.
Johns Hopkins CareLink is a free online portal that allows referring physicians to have real-time access to a wealth of information on patient care. Physicians who sign up for an account will have the ability to receive alerts about their patients’ outpatient visits and hospital admissions and discharges, allowing easier discharge planning. They’ll not only receive a discharge summary, but also will be able to view the patient’s chart, including the entire episode of care. The information will be electronic and instant, avoiding adding to the mountain of paperwork that piles up in the office.
The new system is highly interactive. Physicians logged on to the portal will be able to send secure messages to Johns Hopkins providers with questions or comments about their patients’ care and order consults with Johns Hopkins specialists.
Keeping tabs on the care patients receive from outside providers hasn’t always been so easy. In outpatient settings, referring physicians might have received only sparse documentation in the form of faxes to the office or regular postal mail. For inpatient care, it might have been simply a notice that the patient was admitted and a discharge summary. There was no easy way to gather more information, and the current system left little room for interaction.
“Epic allows us to take better care of our patients in a more comprehensive way,” says otolaryngologist–head and neck surgeon Matt Kashima, “and communicating with other providers is a pivotal part.”
Enrollment began May 13; access to patients’ information begins July 1. For more information and enrollment instructions, visit hopkinsmedicine.org/carelink. Enrollment is quick and easy. Once you have enrolled, you and your office colleagues can take brief online training and receive technical support by calling 855-284-5465.