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December 2, 2014

ThedaCare Affiliation Improves Patient Care

Increased convenience and improved care are just two of the benefits area residents have experienced since Community Health Network and Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital affiliated with ThedaCare.

Increased convenience and improved care are just two of the benefits area residents have experienced since Community Health Network and Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital  affiliated with ThedaCare.

In mid-2014, CHN and Wild Rose joined ThedaCare, adding Berlin Memorial Hospital, Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital and the two systems’ clinics to a strong network that includes Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Appleton Medical Center and the independent specialists who practice at those hospitals. ThedaCare is also the first health system in Wisconsin to be a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network.

Wild Rose CEO Dawn Shuman says patients now have more access to specialists in the community and a common electronic medical record (EMR) between their primary care physician, specialists and hospitals. With the EMR in place, physicians and their staff members have a patient’s health history at their fingertips and information can easily be shared between medical providers.

“The EMR improves the quality of care our patients receive,” she said. “Doctors can just call up their records on an in-room computer whether they are in Wild Rose, Berlin or Neenah. Patients don’t need to physically carry their records if they see a specialist not based in our community.”

CHN CEO John Feeney said EMRs improve patient safety since doctors can see a patient’s complete history, including medications. “We now have a best-in-class EMR for the safe transition of patient care throughout the care continuum,” he says.

The EMRs also eliminate the duplicate tests patients sometimes had to go through, Shuman said. If a Wild Rose physician orders an x-ray or a lab test, a specialist in another location can just view the result in the EMR instead of repeating the test. “That cuts down on our patients’ costs and it speeds up care since the specialist can look at the result with the patient in the room instead of waiting to get it,” she said.

Feeney said ThedaCare is also committed to providing as much care as possible close to patients’ homes, bringing in services and specialists whenever possible.

“ThedaCare is a great partner for us since they understand rural healthcare and the needs of our patients who want the majority of their care delivered locally,” he said. “They also recognize that local physician, executive and board leadership is essential to understanding community dynamics.”

Beyond providing technology expertise and access to medical experts in the Fox Cities, the affiliation also allows Wild Rose and CHN to take advantage of the Appleton-based health system’s expertise in different areas from marketing to business services.

“We’ve been able to work with the ThedaCare Improvement System and use those tools to help us become more efficient in our own processes,” Shuman said. “We’re taking advantage of their standard work processes they have in place to improve our scheduling and how we move our patients through the clinic and hospitals. The end result is improved customer service.”

Feeney said ThedaCare is financially stable so the system is better able to weather economic downturns than a smaller organization. He says the organization is also committed to its employees, citing its no-layoff philosophy and will instead try to retrain employees in new areas.

“ThedaCare is an organization that wants to give as much as they want to receive,” Feeney said. “The patient is also at the center of everything they do and that’s something we’re committed to as well.”

Community Health Network includes the CHN Medical Group, Berlin Memorial Hospital and 10 CHN Medical Centers, which are community-based primary care facilities in Green Lake, Waushara, Fond du Lac and Marquette counties.

In addition to Wild Rose Community Memorial Health, the system includes four Waushara Family Physician clinics in Wild Rose, Plainfield, Wautoma and Coloma.