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Volunteers in Medicine Testing Electronic Records System

Thanks to a $37,500 grant to Volunteers in Medicine of Monroe County from the Indiana State Department of Health, diabetes patients in Monroe and Owen counties will find it easier to manage their condition and share vital health information with their health care providers.

The grant enables VIM to partner with NoMoreClipboard, a company based in Fort Wayne that operates “personal health records,” a complete summary of a person’s medical history accessible online at NoMoreClipboard.com; and a “health information exchange,” a system that electronically moves a patient’s clinical health care information among health care providers in a particular community or region.

NoMoreClipboard.com is an online, patient-controlled health record management system that consolidates medical information securely for easy retrieval and updates. It enables patients to share medical information with professionals electronically, reducing the need to complete repetitive paperwork.

“A personal health record provides a way for patients to actively manage and monitor their health information,” said Elizabeth Thompson, VIM’s executive director. “A patient can use it to keep track online of his allergies, chronic diseases, medications, family history and X-ray reports and print it out and take to the doctor’s office with him; or go to the doctor’s office and look up the information with a phone or smart phone.”

The partnership calls for the personal health record to be filled with health information that exists in the HealthLINC clinical messaging system used by more than 270 physicians and medical staff in Bloomington.

Within the next month, one group of VIM patients will be provided with a personal health record they’ll be able to access primarily by computer — either at home, a public library or the VIM clinic.

A second group will be provided with additional access to their personal health record via a smart phone with a data plan, and will be given a $20 monthly stipend to help subsidize their data plan. They will be asked to input their glucose readings into their phone, which will upload to their personal health record. A third group, which will serve as a control group, will not use a personal health record.

“This will enable us to determine the potential impact that using a personal health record can have in improving diabetic compliance, improving clinical outcomes and reducing costs,” Thompson said. “It will also will enable VIM to determine the potential value of offering a personal health record application to its entire patient population.”

Thompson said many VIM patients are referred to doctors and specialists in the area who provide free or low-cost care.

“But coordinating care can be a challenge because these patients move from provider to provider,” she said. “Without a means of easily sharing patient information, providers lack access to clinical data, including medication lists, allergies, conditions and lab results. This lack of data invariably contributes to service duplication, unnecessary costs and avoidable errors.”

Thompson said if the program involving diabetic patients goes well, VIM will expand its offer of personal health records to all its patients. That project will be funded by part of a $1.25 million federal grant to NoMoreClipboard and Indiana Health Information Technology Inc. that will provide patients in the state with access to health information exchange data.

Thompson said Indiana has five health information exchanges that routinely move health information among physicians, hospitals, and labs on behalf of patients — but without patients being active participants. The grant will enable patients to electronically monitor their personal health records.

“It’s exciting that VIM is part of this,” Thompson said. “It will be huge news if we can show that this program can help people, particularly highly vulnerable people like VIM patients, improve their health over time.”

 

Source:  HeraldTimesOnline.com 2011

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