Questions About CareConnect
Who operates CareConnect?
CareConnect is a service operated by MultiCare Health System. The system has been used by MultiCare’s affiliated physicians since the mid-1980's. Now thoroughly proven in practice and widely accepted, it was recognized that there was an opportunity to extend it to the broader physician community. It is being offered under the banner CareConnect, with these goals:
- To serve physicians throughout the region, regardless of affiliation
- To bring new efficiencies to medical practice
- To improve patient care.
Are there any plans to include other labs, imaging centers or hospitals in the system?
Yes, and some of those talks are already underway.
What are the advantages of using CareConnect?
CareConnect has advantages over paper charts, and over other electronic health record systems you might be considering.
- Freedom from the overhead of handling paper charts. Storing, retrieving and maintaining paper charts is a timely and costly problem for every practice. That includes not only the staff time required to deal with them, but also the costs of space to store them. Paper charts are especially troublesome for practices that have multiple locations, or a long history and large number of patients such that charts must be stored in a separate storage area.
- Faster information access for better patient care. Missing, misplaced or difficult-to-retrieve paper charts cause unnecessary delays, or recommendations based on incomplete information can compromise patient care. With an electronic health record system, all of a patient's demographic information, current medical status and health history is instantly available online.
- Improved efficiency for individual practices. CareConnect includes patient registration and scheduling, as well as billing functions that can speed the revenue cycle for your practice. As you enter orders, visit with the patient and close the chart, it steps you through the coding process, drops the charge and forward the billing information to your business office.
- Efficiencies of a region-wide system. Patient data is instantly available to other providers. This speeds patient care, ensures complete information and spares your staff from having to pull charts or make copies.
- Hundreds of thousands of patient records already online. Data on many patients, including demographics and results from MultiCare facilities, is already in the system. This can save much of the data entry involved in getting an EHR system up and running.
- Nationally recognized, locally focused. While CareConnect is locally hosted and focused on serving the local physician community, it uses a nationally recognized system - Epic. In our opinion and that of many others, Epic is the premier electronic health record system available today.
- Participate in web-based user group sessions with other location physicians.
Can patients access their own medical records?
Yes, if you wish. Many MultiCare Clinic physicians are currently allowing their patients access to their lab results and medical history through the MyChart online patient portal. Patients can also request appointments through this patient portal.
If you wish to give patients online access to their records, we can arrange for a patient portal linked through your own web site.
How do I migrate my data into the system?
We advocate a "going-forward" approach, rather than scanning in old records or hand-entering data that may never be used. Typically we suggest retaining the old paper records, and abstracting the data for active patients, typically patients scheduled for appointments. The most essential data is the demographic information, allergies, current medical issues and current medication list. Oftentimes, some of the patient data is already resident in the system, if a patient has had an encounter with a MultiCare facility.
What happens if I want to leave the system?
We can provide hard copies of the patient records, or devise a means to most efficiently output the data for import into another system.
What business-office functions are included?
CareConnect integrates Epic Systems' complete practice management system. it encompasses patient accounts and A/R management including patient statement production, electronic claims submission, electronic remits and insurance-eligibility checking. The system drops the charges for each patient encounter into a work queue for processing by your business office, resulting in more correctly-coded claims, reduced A/R days and a drop in denial rates.
What do I need to access the service?
CareConnect requires a Windows computer with an up-to-date browser, Internet access, and Citrix client software (available as a free download) for each exam room or workstation. A high speed data line connection is required. You will likely also require new printers and/or scanners.
Memory and processor requirements may vary based on other software used in conjunction with CareConnect, and we will provide our recommended specifications at the time we begin working with you.
We recommend putting standard security precautions in place including anti-spyware software, virus detection and a firewall. Our technical staff will advise you on security measures.