Electronic medical records have been made mandatory for all the clinics and hospitals throughout US; and recently, we saw that a flaw in the EMR software has led to big issues in a Dallas hospital. The hospital staffs claimed that a flaw in the EMR software that they used led to an Ebola patient going unnoticed. We are not yet sure if it was the dysfunctional software that contributed to previous month’s disaster in the emergency room of the Dallas hospital.
The hospital staff sent the patient who was suspected of having Ebola home without taking any precautions. Later they changed their statement and what happened next is not yet clear. The arguments on the efficiency of the Electronic Medical Records are still continuing and in the mean time, CVS pharmacy’s walk-in health clinics and Lifespan hospitals reported that they have agreed to share the Electronic Medical Records of their patients. This collaboration is aimed at encouraging the interaction between MinuteClinic and Lifespan providers to increase and improve the coordination and access to care for the patients who are seen at MinuteClinic locations. As a result, both of these organizations will be integrating their EMRs to promote the exchange of clinical data, with the permission of the patients.
Lifespan has emerged to become the biggest health system in Rhode Island and they are in the middle of implementing a new electronic medical records system. A Lifespan spokesperson says that there is no timeline decided for the collaboration with CVS health and that the details need to be worked out. The two health organizations will be able to share the patient data after the system is live. This means that the Lifespan doctors whose patients visit CVS pharmacy walk-in clinic (called MinuteClinic) will get a summary of the patient’s visits electronically. For those patients whose doctors are outside the Lifespan system, MInuteClinic will be faxing the same records after getting permission from the doctors.
CVS Health said that by early 2015, they would be having seven MinuteClinics open in cities throughout Rhode Island. These clinics are designed so as to offer same day treatment for the common illnesses, particularly after the normal office hours of the doctors. MinuteClinics are open seven days a week and do not need a prior appointment booking. We will have to wait to see how the decision to share the EMRs of patients between MinuteClinics and CVS Health will bear fruit.