Monday, November 05, 2018

MANKATO (Nov. 5) — Electronic health records (EHR) have improved the way Mankato Clinic provides care. By implementing an electronic health record system 10 years ago, Mankato Clinic has been able to collect information to assist in patient care and give patients electronic access to their own health information.

Today, more than 32,000 patients access their information on Mankato Clinic’s patient portal, FollowMyHealth.

“Our patients can access a secure portal account to view their record or communicate with their provider. By allowing them to interact with their information, we can impact their health. The whole point is for our patients to be involved and engaged in their health,” said Cheryl Jones, Director of Health Information, EHR and Quality Resources.

In the final quarter of 2008, Mankato Clinic implemented electronic health records across the clinic. EHR was the future of the healthcare industry; paper charts were the past. Providers changed their routines by bringing laptop computers into exam rooms to record patient information, screenings, medication and treatment while having access to all the patient’s information with the click of their mouse.  

“Electronic health records were new to the community in 2008. We educated patients to help them understand that their data was protected by patient privacy laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA),” Jones said.

One result of electronic health records is the use of data to create patient care tools and scorecards. The D5 Diabetic Scorecard is a communication tool that helps the provider and patient look at how well they are managing the five key areas of diabetes. Another tool, the Pre-visit Planning Worksheet, is used by providers and nurses to review information prior to the patient’s appointment so they are aware of health concerns and better prepared to see the patient. At the time of the visit, patients receive their Patient Profile which is a summary of their information that they can review, update and correct if necessary. These tools promote better communication between the patient and care team during the appointment.

EHR also allows Mankato Clinic to reach out to patients who are due for appointments, lab tests and health screenings. In August, Mankato Clinic reached out to nearly 2,000 patients who were overdue for their colorectal cancer screening. Screenings like colonoscopies can prevent cancer or detect it early when it’s easiest to treat.