Homeless Healthcare Clinic Uses HIE to Help PatientsDate: September 21st, 2016Category: CORHIO e-NewsletterTopics: HIE, Care Coordination, CORHIO Network, Patient Care
Providers and staff at Stout Street Health Center are spending less time tracking down medical records, freeing them to focus more time on patient care.
The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless’ Stout Street Health Center, formerly Stout Street Clinic, provides integrated healthcare to the Denver metro area’s homeless population. They care for more than 15,000 people each year, offering help from healthcare to housing to social services. They have begun utilizing CORHIO’s health information exchange to quickly find patient histories for their transient patient population.
“Part of what makes our health center so unique is that we offer an integrated care model and provide supportive housing just upstairs,” says Amanda Fitzsimons, Regulatory Specialist at Stout Street Health Center. “So our clients are able to get medical, dental, vision, pharmacy and behavioral health services all in one place.”
Time is Precious During Patient Visits
Because most of the patients at Stout Street Health Center are without a home, often without a phone and reliable transportation, the staff must do everything they can to make the appointment as productive as possible. Patients overcome multiple obstacles just to make it to their appointments, so it’s important for staff to minimize time spent tracking down medical records. Being able to look up patient history on CORHIO is saving Health Center staff valuable time, freeing them up to focus more on patient care.
“Recent emergency room encounters is the biggest use for us right now,” says Fitzsimons. “We do a lot of walk-in services, so it’s important for us to be able to access that information faster. When we have someone who presents the day after an emergency room visit, we need to have access to those records and work with the patient right then, because we may or may not see them for a while. In the past, we played the waiting game for faxes—sometimes up to three days for records to arrive—and we can’t wait that long to start caring for our patients.”
Another issue with the old way of obtaining medical records was the sheer volume of information received back from hospitals. “We relied on whoever was sending us information, so sometimes we would get 200+ pages of records for the last 6 months,” says Fitzsimons. “Which means providers were sorting through a ream of paper to be able to find the patient information they needed.”
Providing Relief to Stressed Patients
Another benefit of being able to look up medical records on the CORHIO HIE is that it saves the patient the stress of having to retell their story over and over. They likely spent the previous night in the emergency room, and are exhausted and anxious. If the provider can find information on CORHIO and come into the exam room fully informed, they can “hit the ground running” and discuss next steps instead of focusing on what happened previously.
“We can find the information in CORHIO and focus on their treatment. We’re able to help the patient pick up where they left off with their last visit as opposed to trying to piece together what happened to them and possibly re-traumatizing them. With this new system, we’re looking forward to being able to serve our patients more efficiently and in a more trauma-informed way,” says Fitzsimons.
Finding the Right Data at the Time of Care
Stout Street Health Center also has a Health Outreach Program (HOP) with a mobile medical unit fully staffed with providers delivering healthcare out in the community and meeting people where they are, on the streets and in shelters. “All of our HOP providers have access to CORHIO on a laptop, so no matter where we’re providing the treatment, we’re able to get the information we need.”