Adventist HealthCare helps physicians embrace electronic medical records

The challenges of trying to decipher a doctor’s handwriting or remembering which tests you had at your last appointment could soon be a thing of the past as more physicians enter the world of online medical management. In the health care field, electronic medical record (EMR) technology is making it easier for physicians and patients to keep track of their health and medical history.

“No matter where a physician provides care—in an office setting or within the hospital environment—it is important to maintain a continuum of care for patients,” explains Gaurov Dayal, M.D., chief medical officer for Adventist HealthCare. “EMR technology can help coordinate care between the doctor’s office, the patient’s home, and outpatient and inpatient settings that meets a wide range of health needs.”

Goal: More Efficient Care

In response to 2009 health care reform law, community physicians are being encouraged to implement EMRs in their practices over the next several years. Under the new law, physicians are eligible to receive thousands of dollars in federal incentives provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) by reaching a set of CMS measures used to show how quality of care has been improved for patients. To help Adventist HealthCare’s more than 1,700 community physicians reach this goal, the organization offers the innovative ACES (Ambulatory Care EMR Solution) Program.

ACES is designed to enhance the quality of patient care and help medical offices perform more efficiently. Electronic records can help physician offices schedule appointments, type patient notes, order tests, fill prescriptions and handle billing, while reducing the volume of paperwork typically associated with medical care.

For patients, it means receiving better care from physicians who can use the EMR capability to give them information on the spot about their conditions or special instructions for their specific health care needs.

“Since I am now online, as I see patients I am able to print out and give them the latest information about their condition, which would have taken a lot more time before,” notes Sally Jo Belcher, M.D., a Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center family medicine physician. “I can print visit summaries with recommendations for medications and treatments that patients would otherwise have just had to remember, or have written down themselves. For example, I recently printed out a list of high-potassium foods for a patient who needed to supplement her potassium.” Dr. Belcher implemented an EMR in her practice through ACES in January 2011.

Anytime Access

The advantage of EMR for physicians also extends beyond the office visit. Washington Adventist Hospital family medicine physician Seth Eaton, M.D., explains how when one of his patients needs to go to the emergency room, he can access medical record information at any time at home or office to share vital information with emergency staff.

Dr. Eaton offers patients an option where they can view their entire medical record online and send messages to ask follow-up questions about their health.

“Adventist HealthCare is committed to improving the health of people and communities,” Dr. Dayal explains. “EMRs are an important part of bringing health care into the digital age.”

Connect with a Doctor near You

Visit or call 800-642-0101 to find a physician at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center or Washington Adventist Hospital.