Improving Your Care with Electronic Health Records: A Physician Perspective

Editor’s Note: On December 15, Fletcher Allen completed the installation of our electronic health record (EHR) in our outpatient (ambulatory) clinics; we now have the PRISM software in both our inpatient and outpatient areas.  In an EHR system, all of your health information, including your medical charts, treatment notes, medication lists and prescription orders, are converted from paper files to a single electronic record housed on a computer-based software application.  Your EHR can be retrieved by your care providers who are authorized to access the record, enabling all providers on your care team –whether at Fletcher Allen or practicing in the community – to collaborate to ensure seamless care.  Read below for a physician perspective on the patient benefits of PRISM.   

David J. Schneider, M.D. is Director of Cardiology at Fletcher Allen.

PRISM stands for Patient Record Information Systems Management, and this month Fletcher Allen has completed the rollout of its electronic health record.  This means that every health care provider in Fletcher Allen will utilize the same medical record.  What is learned by one person at Fletcher Allen will be immediately available to any other provider involved in your care. 

For example, if you have a bad reaction to a medication, the reaction is immediately and permanently recorded.  If someone tries to give you that medication again after 3 minutes, 3 months, or 3 years, PRISM alerts the provider about your previous reaction.

Another value of PRISM is that potential interaction between medications is constantly monitored.  If you must take several medications, there is a risk that the combination of medications may cause an unexpected side effect.  PRISM keeps track of these interactions and warns the provider.  In this regard, PRISM is like having a ‘big brother’ who is a pharmacist always looking out for you.

PRISM offers another advantage of storing information in an easily accessible manner.  The electronic nature of PRISM allows your provider to move quickly and easily from report to report.  Everything is sorted and stored so that information is just a click away.  If you are young and have not required much health care this may seem like a small issue.  As you grow older and have more tests done you will want to avoid repeating those tests unless absolutely necessary.  PRISM is like the difference between writing a paper using books and encyclopedias compared with doing your research online with Google!  Most of us can’t imagine not having easy access to information and communication through the internet.  Now health care has those same tools – allowing your health care providers quick and easy access to critical information and a secure method of communication.

Unlike the internet, PRISM is a secure system to protect your most private information.  As an example of that security, every access to the medical record requires the provider to log on, and each provider must log off when they leave a computer (or the system logs off for you).  In addition, PRISM secures your information with multiple backups to protect your most important information.  For more information about PRISM and security, please read this blog devoted to the subject by John McConnell, a web developer at Fletcher Allen.

So, PRISM means more efficient, more effective, and safer health care for people in our region.

Learn more about PRISM and how it benefits you as a Fletcher Allen patient.

David J. Schneider, M.D. is Director of Cardiology at Fletcher Allen. 

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