Background: Stuart Falk -- a patient at UCLA -- heard about CareConnect from several of his doctors. After conducting his own research and speaking to friends who are patients at other institutions that have implemented Epic, he contacted us to share what he is looking forward to the most about CareConnect.
Why are you enthusiastic about the implementation of CareConnect? To me, it represents a major step forward in using information technology to improve medical care.
What have you heard about Epic software or CareConnect? In addition to what I have heard from several of my UCLA physicians, nurses, and support staff, who are looking forward to the implementation of CareConnect -- several friends of mine who are Kaiser members have told me how Epic (which is the same software UCLA is implementing) has improved their experience. I am really looking forward to seeing what CareConnect will have to offer to its patients.
What do you think of the move all health care organizations are making toward electronic health record systems? I think it's great because, as an early adopter of information technology in my prior business and personal life, I know firsthand how information technology can not only improve efficiency -- but facilitate better, evidence-driven decision making, while making our lives easier and more enjoyable.
CareConnect will include a portal that will provide patients with timely access to some of their own health data, prescriptions, and allow them to send messages electronically to their doctors. How do you think this portal will improve your experience as a patient? I've done quite a bit of research on the Epic system, and I think patients will feel more empowered and more involved as partners in their care. CareConnect will not only provide patients with easily accessible information -- but its interactivity will also facilitate dialogue between the patient and professional staff, while allowing the patient to have the ability to instantly request and keep track of appointments, request refills on prescriptions, and send a message to their doctors.
How do you think the new system will improve your overall experiences as a patient here at UCLA? Based on what I've heard about what CareConnect has to offer, it makes me feel more confident that readily accessible and better organized information is being shared among doctors -- furthering teamwork and decision-making -- and ultimately improving health.
Decisions about CareConnect are based on the best interests of our patients, how do you think the use of an EHR will protect your privacy as a patient? Based on the research I have done and the UCLA Health System's reputation, it seems that in designing and implementing CareConnect at UCLA, patient privacy and security are of overriding importance. Not only is Epic well respected for the security of its EHR systems, but according to the "Protecting Privacy in CareConnect" story posted on CareConnect's website, UCLA is further enhancing privacy by not only restricting access, but also allowing for patient pseudonyms and "break-the-glass" requirements to be used where necessary. As a patient, I am confident that CareConnect will improve patient security over the current systems and provide far greater security than paper records.
Anything else? One benefit is that if I fall ill and require medical care while traveling outside the Los Angeles area (I am currently planning a trip to India and Asia), as long as I am at a medical facility that has Internet access, I as a patient will be able to access my basic health care information and test results -- providing the doctors with invaluable information instantly.