By the end of this summer, all of our ThedaCare facilities will have the same brand identity. When our facilities in Wild Rose and Berlin join the rest of the system with new names that include ThedaCare, easily recognizable signs, and stories and photos that tell of our local impact, patients throughout the nine counties we serve can experience the peace of mind that they’re at the right place for the best health care – no matter where they live.
Creating peace of mind is always top of mind for us. By better connecting our facilities and services, we assure our customers they, too, are connected. ThedaCare is one entity, although we serve a broad area. Our renaming initiative minimizes confusion about our facilities and honors the legacy of excellence in health care initiated by our namesake, Theda Clark Peters. She could not have envisioned the top-quality system that today bears her name, and is remarkably connected across the region – and to individual patients – by a single computerized medical record.
If you’re my age, you remember the days of paper medical records. Specifically, the manila folder that held the hundreds of pages of notes captured from your visits to the doctor, lab results and other tests, copies of prescriptions, instructions for follow-up care and more. To see for yourself what was in there or share the information with a different doctor, you had to physically access the file, make copies and mail or hand deliver them. Same with X-rays and other images. What a chore! It was fraught with opportunity for something to go wrong. It was time consuming for you, and your doctor’s office. Then, when everyone had copies, you hoped all your doctors could get on the same page. Maybe they would talk on the phone. Maybe their staffs would consult. Maybe you had to check in a few times. Seems to me that created anxiety more than peace.
Today, that computerized chart is accessible to any healthcare provider in the ThedaCare system. Any includes all seven of our hospitals and all 34 of our clinics, of course. What many people don’t know is it also includes more than 85 employer onsite locations, scores of independent and specialist physician offices, our two FastCare walk-in clinics, Mosaic Family Health in downtown Appleton and Partnership Community Health Center in Menasha.
Importantly, residents of area nursing homes also have peace of mind that their charts can be easily accessed by their doctors because most of them share our computerized medical records platform. Nursing homes are chronically disconnected to computerized records, increasing the chance of duplicative tests and missed communications among providers. That adds up to lost time and extra cost.
Travelers also experience peace of mind when they know that they’re connected to vital health information in an emergency. If a child bumps her head on the Chain of Lakes, and her parents are worried about a concussion, they can trust that her images taken in the ER at ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca will be reviewed in real time, by a radiologist in Neenah or Appleton.
What’s more? ThedaCare patients have immediate access to their records – literally, within about ten seconds, through MyThedaCare online or the MyChart mobile app. I personally use MyChart all the time. Last time I traveled out of the country I used it to check the status of my tetanus shots. I use it to schedule appointments and keep a current medication list. Like many of you, I count on that computerized record to keep my personal health information available at my fingertips and expedite communication with my doctor. In the rapidly changing world of healthcare, we’re aiming to deliver not only quality care, but also peace of mind. Our community owners and patients expect no less.
By Dr. Dean Gruner is president and CEO of Appleton-based ThedaCare. To send your thoughts to him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.