Healthcare Technology in My Community
For years, physicians and patients in our Michigan community struggled with the medical referral process. Primary care physicians and their patients were frustrated by the amount of time it took to get appointments with specialty physicians. Specialty offices were waiting, sometimes for weeks, to get appropriate past medical history, lab and x-ray reports prior to scheduling patient appointments. The process was an inefficient one that everyone had slowly come to accept. There seemed to be no straightforward solution.
Three large hospitals in Michigan began to take notice. Concerned about patient dissatisfaction, and the perception of suboptimal healthcare coordination, they joined forces to create a nonprofit regional health information organization, Michigan Health Connect (MHC). Once established, one of the first orders of business for MHC was to create a referral management solution.
West Shore Urology One of the First to use MHC
We were fortunate at West Shore Urology to be one of the first offices in the State to get to use the MHC referral product. The product allows us to use customizable templates for each diagnosis, to describe the records, labs, and x-ray reports we need from the referring physician. It allows our staff to electronically follow up on missing information prior to the patient’s arrival in our office.
Having this information gives us the opportunity, when appropriate, to order additional tests or send patients educational materials prior to their first visit in our office.
This allows us to spend more face-to-face, problem-focused time with the patient. Referring physicians also benefit as MHC allows their office staff to follow a patient’s progress in real time through the entire referral process.
Michigan Health Connect Improves Workflow and Patient Satisfaction
As more offices in our community started using the product, we noticed fewer patients sitting in our examination rooms waiting for medical records. Patient satisfaction increased as office times decreased. Patient flow in the clinic improved which reduced stress on nurses and physicians.
Healthcare technology is impacting the lives of physicians, their nurses and office staff every day. Much of the technology seems to disrupt rather than improve office workflow. However, Michigan Health Connect streamlines a suboptimal process with the potential to lead to improved and better quality patient care. The Michigan Health Connect referral product is free for Michigan physicians to use and comes with technical support.