Cherokee Nation To Expand Use Of Electronic Health Records

Wednesday, January 26th 2011, 11:28 am
By: News On 6 & Dan Bewley, News On 6

TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma -- The Cherokee Nation says it is expanding the use of newly developed technology that will link patient records between tribal health centers and W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah.  

"The quicker we can get access to the information the better it is for the patient," Dr. Seth Yandell said.

Dr. Seth Yandell, an internal medicine doctor at W.W. Hastings, said the Cherokee Nations electronic record keeping system makes it much easier and quicker to treat patients.

The system tracks everything, from doctors notes to allergies to medications.

"We get stuck trying to have the patients bring in their medications and write them all down, here we at least have access to things they're taking and when they last picked them up and filled them," he said.

The Cherokee Nation has nine clinics in 14 counties and the electronic health records system makes it easier, for example, for doctors in Jay to know if, how, and when their patient was treated here in Tahlequah.

Before e-records, doctors would have to have the records delivered or ask the patient to bring it with them. Now getting that information is as quick as the touch of button.

"Electronic health record decreases repetitive testing," Mitchell Thornbrugh said. "Helps us decrease our wait times in the clinics and improves the quality of patient care."

Doctors here say they notice a difference, there's not as much confusion and it's easier to treat the patient no matter which health clinic they last visited.

"The main benefit that I feel is that this helps us to integrate both the patients past history and their current history and I have access to all that data in real time," Dr. Yandell said.