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IRC Blog

IRC Blog
Posted: Monday, April 27, 2015
By: IRC Blog

Ingleside retirement communities join health care technology revolution

blog-techmed-ikf.jpgIt used to be that when you visited the doctor, he or she wrote everything down on your chart by hand. If you were a long-time patient, your chart could run to many pages. On your next visit, the doctor would have to flip through all of those pages to find information that was recorded on your previous visits.

If your doctor needed to find out about your treatment by another physician, such as a specialist, he or she would have to contact the specialist, and someone at that office would have to flip through your chart to find the answer to your doctor’s questions. And you know what they say about doctors’ handwriting—sometimes they can’t even read their own!

Nowadays, at many medical offices, health care professionals just have to enter your name on their computer to retrieve any information they need, such as what medications you are taking or recent test results. Through health information exchanges, health agencies now can find out if another doctor has prescribed medications for you. Information like that can help prevent medication conflicts, prevent duplicate tests and treatments, and even save your life.

The health care industry has lagged a bit behind other industries when it comes to using technology, but that’s changing as people realize information technology can revolutionize the delivery of health care and reduce costs. More and more organizations are using electronic health records and are joining health information exchanges so that they can securely share information.

Ingleside at King Farm and Ingleside at Rock Creek are at the forefront of the health information revolution. Both of these Continuing Care Retirement Communities have joined the Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP)—the nonprofit agency that functions as Maryland’s health information exchange. It was created so member organizations could securely share information in order to improve patient care and reduce costs. Patient records are shared only with participating organizations, and the highest levels of security are in place so your information is protected.

Through the CRISP exchange, IKF and IRC receive notifications if a member is hospitalized, enabling them to better prepare for the patient’s return.

“We sometimes didn’t know people were in the hospital until after the fact,” says Dusanka Delovska-Trajkova, Chief Information Officer for the Ingleside-Westminster communities. “Participation in the health information exchange gives us the opportunity to be ahead of the game. We can talk to family members and care managers and look at lab reports. When patients come back, we can adjust and be prepared for them.”

Ingleside at King Farm was the only Continuing Care Retirement Community to participate in a 2013 grant from the Maryland Health Care Commission to help get connected to CRISP—a process that took months of work by Delovska-Trajkova and her team. Now both IKF and Ingleside at Rock Creek are part of the regional system that extends throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia, and that is benefiting residents.

In one case, Delovska-Trajkova says, a resident was injured in a fall during a visit to family members in another Maryland town. The resident was treated at a hospital there.

“The family did not call us, but we were notified by the health information exchange,” she says. “We talked to the family members and asked what they needed from us: whether the resident wanted to stay in their apartment or needed to move to a higher level of care.”

The resident and family decided they’d like to have a private-duty health care professional assist the resident, so the community contacted a private duty-agency and arranged for care when the resident returned.

Having access to more data about residents’ medical status helps to provide better care and reduces return visits to the hospital, she says. In addition, it has pointed the way toward programs that help residents stay safer and healthier.

“We found out that a significant reason our residents are going to ERs is falls,” Delovska-Trajkova says. “As a result of that data, we are developing programs on balance and fall prevention.”



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