The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

August 19, 2012

UPDATE: Carle adds new technology

DANVILLE — At Carle, it’s all about convenience. A patient can check his blood-test results, for example, while sitting next to the pool. Or log onto the same website to find out when his next appointment is scheduled.

At the Fairchild Street clinic, patients can bypass the check-in desk and use an automated system in the lobby.

Such technological changes are designed to help bring control and convenience to people’s lives, according to Jim Snider, director of regional health care at Carle.

The most recent change is the addition of three kiosks at the Fairchild clinic, which patients can choose for quicker check-in.

Christy Harris, patient service representative, demonstrated how a person types in his name and birth date, and the information is verified by the computer. If there are any discrepancies, the kiosk will tell the person to go to the front desk. Also, a patient may not check in more than 30 minutes prior to his appointment time.

“It’s just as simple as using an ATM at the bank,” Harris said.

Once all the information is verified, the computer will tell the person he’s checked in. With a credit card, a person may take care of his co-pay, if desired.

Two kiosks are in the west end of the lobby and a third is near the lab.

Another change that patients like is the website http://www.MyCarle.com. So far, 12,547 patients are enrolled, said Sean Williams, public relations officer.

The online system will give patients of Carle Foundation Hospital and Physician Group greater access to their health information by making inpatient and outpatient records available in one place.

Patients who sign up will have access to past and future appointments, lab results, insurance coverage and benefits, immunizations, allergies, medication lists, hospital discharge instructions and outpatient after-visit summaries. Medical, surgical, family and social histories will be accessible, and an e-mail will be sent to patients notifying them when new information is added to their MyCarle account.

Patients may visit any Carle location to request an access code and instructions on how to set up their accounts.

Williams, who uses the system himself, said, “I love it. It tells you past and future appointments and after-visit summaries.”

It’s also easy to interpret the lab results by noting the normal values, he said.

Snider said other features are being explored for future enhancements, such as online bill payments and two-way communication with doctors.

Carle also has a new electronic medical system, and the Hoopeston hospital will transition to the same system in October.

“We can track information better,” Snider said. When a patient calls to make an appointment, for example, a notice may pop up that the patient is due for a certain test.

Staffing

Carle has a good number of specialists, Snider said, adding, “We’re always recruiting new physicians based on demand from the community. Every year, we put together a recruitment plan.”

In the pediatrics department, Carle is looking for a third physician due to demand.

A new physician and an advanced practice professional (either physician assistant or nurse practitioner) are needed in adult medicine, which is even busier than family practice, Snider said.

Carle is recruiting another cardiologist and advanced practice professional, also due to demand.

“There aren’t enough physicians to meet the demand in primary care area,” Snider said. “We have interviewed a number of people over several months.”

New providers added in the past year include Rebecca Bargfrede, PA, and Jackie Long, NP, both in adult medicine; Dr. Jeff McFadden, family medicine; and Dr. Lu Ye, Convenient Care.

Carle also is evaluating its behavioral health services, including licensed clinical social workers, as demand is high in that area.

“We’re trying to evaluate that demand (for counseling) and see what we can do,” he said, adding that manpower is a big issue.

Carle is not actively recruiting in that area yet. Danville has two social workers and a full-time psychiatrist.

Carle has been collaborating with Provena United Samaritans Medical Center to staff its hospitalist service. In July, the service was expanded to 24 hours a day, he said.

A person who comes into the emergency room without a family physician would be assigned to a hospitalist, who is trained in hospital medicine and who handles in-patient care. A hospitalist will manage the patient until he’s discharged.

A lot of patients don’t have a primary-care doctor, Snider said, and many of them use Convenient Care, which in Danville is located at the Fairchild clinic. A change is that one manager now oversees all three clinics, including those in Champaign and Urbana.

The clinic is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. In the future, Snider said, Carle would like to expand operations to 12 hours a day, seven days a week. However, that would depend on manpower.

Convenient Care is very busy at all of its locations, Snider said, and there’s a demand for after-hours.

Wellness

Another advancement over the past year is that Carle has started a pilot program for its diabetes patients. A team made up of a dietitian, nurse educator, physician assistant and others will offer more intense, comprehensive services to the patient, as well as individual sessions.

A support group meets at the YMCA now, but this program would expand those opportunities to help patients manage their diabetes better.

Snider also is proud of Carle’s relationship with Northeast Elementary Magnet School and its program to combat obesity. The school has changed its food menu to offer healthy choice, and Carle has made financial donations and given the children pedometers. A pediatrician also talks to parents about health.

“We try to connect with the community,” Snider said. “Combating childhood obesity was a need identified in Vermilion County. This pilot program with Northeast is part of our three-year Community Benefit plan.”

Overall, Snider said Carle has a good group of providers, and “patients don’t have to travel outside the community to access optimum care.” Plus, he said, “I want to think we’re a good neighbor in the community.”

Carle has had a presence in the area for more than 25 years.

Visiting specialists

n Fairchild

Allergy: Dr. John Zech, first, second and third Friday afternoons; 431-7750.

Plastic surgery: Kori Carroll, PA, Tuesday morning and Thursday afternoon each week; 326-2000.

n Vermilion

Oncology: Dr. Kendrith Rowland, Tuesday and Thursday each week; 431-7825.

Oncology/hematology: Dr. Vamsi Vasireddy, Wednesday each week, and adding Friday mornings after Sept. 7; 431-7825.

Neurology: Dr. Kenneth Aronson and Sara Marner, N.P., both Wednesday each week, 554-1800.

Hand surgery: Jim Berkes, PA, Thursday each week, 554-1800.

Podiatry: Dr. Phillip Logsdon, Wednesday morning and Friday all day each week (except the fifth Friday), 431-7830.

Pulmonary: Dr. Donald Greeley, second and fourth Friday of each month, changing to Thursday starting in October, 554-1800.

Physical medicine: Dr. Victoria Johnson, second and fourth Tuesday of each month, 554-1800.

Physical medicine and rehabilitation: Dr. Li, second and fourth Monday, 554-1800, and Dr. Tipirneni, every Tuesday, 554-1800.

Cardiology: Dr. Sanchez-Torres and Dr. Brasch rotate every Tuesday, 554-1700.

Pain Management: Dr. Schmidt, every Monday, 444-5800.

Vascular surgery: Dr. Timothy Connelly, every Tuesday afternoon, 554-1800.

Endocrinology: Dr. Toufic Abdo, every Wednesday, 554-1800.

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