My Experiences with Interoperable Health IT

Tom Leary

As a forty-something with a family history of heart disease, my family doctor got me linked up with a cardiologist in my community. Initial screening by the cardiologist led to a battery of tests and scans that gave a great baseline for my heart health. From a health IT perspective, my cardiologist was sent an eCopy of blood test results from the local LabCorp and links to reports from scans that were performed at INOVA Fairfax Hospital. All was great because the cardiologist then shared the results (albeit via U.S. Mail) with my primary care provider.

By November 2014, my family doctor changed business models to concierge service and the cardiologist’s medical group merged with INOVA Fairfax. I searched, found, and scheduled doctor appointments with the cardiologist (January) and a new family doctor (March) ALL online.

As the 2014 holiday season began, some “self-diagnosed” shortness of breath, and the stresses of the holiday season had me convinced I was having a “heart incident” and found myself at INOVA clinics. The doctor performed an EKG that showed a FALSE alarm. She entered the data into my EHR, and encouraged me to keep the cardiology appointment the following week.

At the cardiology appointment the following week, the notes from my encounter and the EKG results were in the EHR. I was so excited when the cardiology team told me they “trusted” the results in the EHR and would be avoiding redundant tests before advising me to consult a pulmonologist.

Finally, the March appointment with the new primary care doctor went smoothly, I could have sworn it was scripted in the EHR. The doctor had all my test results from the cardiologist and INOVA Fairfax and could see the other provider notes. I even had to laugh at the level of patient-provider accountability verification when she said, “Hey, have you scheduled that appointment with a pulmonologist, yet?”

Yep, I’ve achieved greater care coordination through health IT.

#IHeartHIT because it makes me feel super successful when I’m able to work with my providers to make informed decisions about my path to continued GREAT health!


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