Improving Care Coordination

Alan Barbell

Six years ago my daughter received her first concussion. It was associated with playing field hockey while still a junior in high school. Over the next two years, she had four or five subsequent concussions. At first, the goal was rest and get back to play. It is amazing how much has been learned about concussions and therapy since her first diagnosis. 

While a sophomore in college, she had fallen and received the last concussion that led her to see a great care team of doctors and therapists at UPMC. The folks at UPMC have done a great job of integrating the EHR into the care process.

For the doctor visits that I was able to attend with my daughter, I was impressed that the doctors did not hide behind the computer, but instead shared their use of the computer with us. They used the documentation as a way to help explain what they were doing, looking for, and how their findings shaped the course of treatment.

The EHR became a tool to help uncover the mystery and made my daughter less apprehensive. It was also reassuring that even though she saw at least four different doctors in different locations and received therapy at another, all providers had access to the same record.

More importantly, they actually read the record. While I was unable to attend all of the visits, I was impressed that at one visit the doctor came into the room, pulled up the record and reviewed with my daughter the results of her last therapy session, which we had not even discussed yet with her.

There was more focusing on the patient's care and next steps and less time having a scared teenager try and retell a doctor what care she received from another doctor. Finally, the discharge documentation was complete and understandable.