Damian Chisolm, 2, has sickle cell disease, so even a fever can become a serious health concern.
The computer chart is central to doctor-patient meetings. It helps Damian’s mom, Yalonda Chisolm, see that antibiotics recently prescribed for her son worked. The chart at Duke University Hospital has all his medical records from wherever he has received medical care.
“In a paper-based world, doctors didn't always have all the charts available when they saw a patient,” said Dr. Jeffrey Ferranti, a Duke neonatologist.
Ferranti directed the implementation of Maestro care – a seamless, comprehensive digital health record – including the training of 12,000 Duke employees on how to use it. With Maestro care, patient records can be accessed by computers that are brought in by patient-care teams.
“It can really facilitate decision making. We can get information right there. We can make the decision as a team (and) include the patient and family,” said Dr. Heather McLean, a Duke pediatrician.
Maestro care also includes a system called My Chart, a secure patient portal, which Damian's mom has used from home.
“I've set up appointments on there and got the appointment reminders and paid my bill,” Chisolm said.
The system, which is designed to share information with all health care providers, is essential to the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Organizers say it's even more essential for improved patient care.
“Affordable Care Act or not, it's the right thing to do for the population we serve,” Ferranti said.
The Duke University Health System's other hospitals – Durham Regional and Duke Raleigh – are expected to launch their electronic health records systems by March. The system allows confidential and secure sharing of patient health information with more than 180 health care institutions that use the same system.