“A lot of times patients are unable to give us all the information for a recent visit that they’ve had at the hospital,” he said. “Previously, we had to get records from that outside hospital through their medical records department, which may be closed.
“They may be able to get us that information 12 hours, 24 hours, 48 hours later.” Now, when a patient comes in from a regional hospital, Ferris only has to sit down at a computer, type in the patient’s name and press a button. “We’re able to get the information so much faster, and the information we get is more accurate,” Ferris said.The WNC Data Link system connects electronic medical records from hospitals across the region through a secured Internet connection, allowing doctors to access a patient’s information at the click of a mouse. “It has expanded access to medical information dramatically for these patients when they come into the emergency room,” Ferris said.
Dr. Julian Ferris works on the Data Link computer at Mission Hospitals St. Joseph campus emergency room Thursday. The Data Link project links patient medical records electronically to hospitals across the region.
Gary Bowers, executive director of the WNC Health Network, said the WNC Data Link system grew out of the vision of the chief information officers at hospitals around the region.“They have great electronic records systems, but, generally, they don’t talk to one another,” he said.