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At UH, Technology Improves Communication

Physician Update - May 2016

By Cliff Megerian, MD, President, University Hospitals Physician Services

University Hospitals’ tremendous growth in recent years is a justified source of pride. However, as our system evolves and grows, it also means we must do some things differently, particularly in the way physicians communicate with one another about patient care.

Back when hospitals were housed in one building or on one campus, communication between physicians could happen naturally. Perhaps we’d run into each other in the hallway or in the cafeteria.

With the UH system now encompassing a major part of Ohio, communication between physicians must occur on a whole new level – and not by happenstance. That’s why we’re continually upgrading our technology to make it easier for physicians to keep up with each other, with system news and most importantly, with what is going on with their patients’ care.

Here are some of UH communication tools available to you to facilitate this process:

The UH Physician Directory app makes it easier for physicians to find specialists to make referrals, to communicate with each other, or to admit a patient, among many other functions.

Soon, we will be adding a new technology called Doc Halo, which will support secured (HIPAA-compliant) texting between physicians.

Keeping up with your colleagues, the latest studies and news that affects your practice is now easily done through The new clinical site is garnering several hundreds of unique internal visits each month, as well as drawing attention from thousands of physicians around the country.

We’ve also heard your feedback that keeping up with the care provided to your patients wasn’t seamless. That will change, starting this month. All UH providers listed as primary care providers will receive an email through the UH Physician Portal when one of their patients is admitted to the hospital. Then, starting in June, all other providers involved in the case will also receive an inpatient email notification. (No email will be sent if the admitting provider is also the PCP.)

Soon after that, physicians will be notified by email with information about patient observation and procedures. Notes also will be emailed to PCPs via the EMR when patients have been seen in the ER, and when they’ve been discharged from the hospital.

To make sure the voice of the physician is constantly heard in developing these technologies, several physician leaders meet regularly with IT and other departments responsible for identifying and implementing these new solutions.

All of these technological solutions are designed to make it easy for you to know what’s happening with your patients, as well as with your colleagues. We encourage you to use them. We believe you’ll find they make an extraordinarily positive difference to your practice in providing the highest-quality patient care.

We’ve chosen these technologies with patients in mind, too. We know that it’s frustrating for patients when they learn that their PCPs were not informed about care they’ve received elsewhere in the system. After all, that’s why we’re a unified care provider – so that consistent information about treatment is available to all physicians on an individual patient’s care team.

If we are to reap the benefits of being an integrated system providing care to hundreds of thousands of patients, we must communicate with each other. Providing the highest-quality care and earning the highest satisfaction from our patients demands it.

Here’s what happens when we do:

  • We avoid duplication of services or treatments for patients.
  • We avoid confusion on the part of the PCP.
  • We provide patients with confidence that their health care is coordinated and that all members of their team have the same information. This helps them have the confidence to stay with UH for the entire continuum of care.

Our system is measured by how well we provide care and how well we satisfy our patients’ expectations. We achieve that through diligent communication. Using the technology we’ve added and enhanced is how we will get there.