It’s Not About The Box Improving Care at Group Health with People, Process and Technology

March 4, 2009

Why does this patient have high blood pressure?

Filed under: Documentation,Epic — Tags: , , — Matt Handley @ 1:46 pm

I love it when our patients help remind us of how we can better serve them.  I had the pleasure of talking with one of our patients on the phone yesterday about his story and suggestions for improvement.

40 plus years ago, at age 11, the patient had a repair of a coarctation of the aorta.  He and his family were told “He’s fixed!”.  No thoughts about follow up.  So earlier this year, when at age 60 he started to have higher blood pressures, it was assumed that it was from essential HTN.  His own investigation led to a referral to Alan Golston, cardiologist extraordinaire in Tacoma, and he started down a path that has led to a successful surgical repair of a paper thin graft – one that was at significant risk of rupture.

Many patients would have stopped there, but this patient committed to helping us develop safer systems for managing patients with a history of surgical repair of congenital heart disease.  The gaps we discovered in our conversation included awareness of the needs for follow up, and in how we enter important data into Epic in a way that helps us take great care of these patients.

It will be a team sport.  The clinical content will be developed with a cardiologist from UW with an interest in congenital heart disease and Dr Golston.  Gwen O’Keefe and her  team will help clarify and reinforce how we enter discrete data into Epic, and how we use Epic to track chronic illness needs.

I think this is a great story to share.   Engaged patient, great doctor, great care, great outcome, and we are going to be learning from it and improving the care of other patients with similar care needs.   A story that highlights the advantages of our model from patient engagement to great multispecialty group practice, to great tools and technology to support both.

I have promised the patient to close the loop as we take the steps we talked over.  He is eager to share that story through the non-profit that supports patients with congenital heart disease.

Powered by WordPress