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Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 7/28/2013

Guest Column

Patients must be partners in their care

BY ANDREA R. PRICE
Price. Price.
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The complex nature of health care in America is known to all, but it’s felt most when someone becomes a patient. Mercy and its parent company, Catholic Health Partners, are committed to helping patients through these complexities to become fully informed partners in addressing their medical needs.

Individual health-care decisions affect the health status of our community. With all the changes, options, and choices that patients face today, we must give them and their families the tools and information they need to make good decisions. Partnerships among patients, families, and their doctors will improve personal and public health.

Mercy and Catholic Health Partners are rolling out a system of electronic health records called CarePATH. Mercy physician practices activated the initiative in 2012. This April, it went live at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center and Mercy Children’s Hospital in Toledo.

Half of Mercy’s hospitals in northwest Ohio use this platform. By this time next year, all Mercy facilities will rely on CarePATH. The result: state-of-the-art technology for the exchange of patient information.

CarePATH is built on the nation’s leading platform for electronic health records, called Epic. Your medical information remains securely within Mercy’s computer network. Doctors and other professionals who are taking care of you can get that information quickly, so you can be treated in a physician’s office, a hospital, or a clinic.

The most critical element of CarePATH is our ability to offer members of our community access to a provider-patient information portal called MyChart. A computer program, MyChart allows a patient and a physician to exchange specific medical data. It helps to strengthen the relationship with the provider, and enables patients to participate actively in monitoring, managing, and making decisions about their care.

A patient who uses MyChart has secure access via the Internet to his or her medical record. It enables the patient to see diagnostic reports, ask for prescription refills, schedule medical appointments, communicate with the doctor’s office, and gain access to details about a range of health categories. All of these activities encourage health management and compliance, generate dialogue, and provide knowledge and educational opportunities.

A recent national survey concluded that four out of five consumers believe that enabling patients to take a greater and more active role in their health care is good for the country.

Another study supports the value of Mercy’s approach, noting that consumers’ health-care choices and the daily management of their health can significantly affect medical outcomes, care, utilization, and costs.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Partnership for Patients, which includes Catholic Health Partners and Mercy, encourages patients and their families to become active participants in their care and decision making, at whatever level they feel comfortable.

A survey conducted by this group concluded that outcomes improve when communications between patients and providers improve at the bedside, or through committees that focus on changes in patient care.

Mercy will continue to respond to our changing health-care environment, while confronting the challenges that affect patient care. Consistent with our mission, we will encourage and support patient-provider collaboration — the cornerstone of health care for the future.

Andrea R. Price is president and chief executive officer of Mercy.



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