Pilot Offers Online Patient Info to Rural Physicians
A clinical message service pilot in Ukiah aims to provide physicians with online access to patient test results and imaging scans, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.
The Ukiah pilot project was developed by the not-for-profit Redwood MedNet and is being funded by a $250,000 Blue Shield of California Foundation grant.
The project eventually could offer physicians many electronic health record system functions without the high cost, according to Carl Henning, president of Redwood MedNet and an Ukiah orthopedic surgeon.
The clinical message service costs much less than an EHR system because software is placed on a secure Web site that physicians can access without having to purchase it individually. Hospitals and labs will enter their test results electronically on the secure Web site, which will sort the documents. Physicians then can enter their codes to access their patients' tests.
Labs and hospitals will pay a small fee for each document they send, but the fee is less than it would cost to e-mail or fax records, Henning said.
Physicians do not pay to receive the records. The 25 participating medical practices are expected to send up to 4,000 lab results and other documents each month.
Santa Cruz Cincinnati, Indianapolis and New York's Hudson River Valley all use clinical message systems. However, the Ukiah service, which will cover Mendocino and Lake counties, is the first clinical message pilot in a rural area, the Press Democrat reports.
If the Ukiah pilot is successful, Redwood MedNet could purchase software that would let physicians electronically prescribe drugs. The system could be expanded to include the location of patients' EHRs and to provide physicians with access to those records (Benfell, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 10/17).