June 6, 2006 | Physicians across Arkansas have a new and easy way to learn about patients they have referred to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
With MD-Link, referring physicians can log onto their computers and have access to their patients’ records. The service is part of UAMS’ continuing efforts to improve communications with referring physicians.
Training and patient authorizations for participation in MD-Link began in January and the program was made available to physicians in March, making UAMS one of only a few hospitals in the country to offer Web-based medical records to referring physicians.
“UAMS has been working the past two years to develop communications tools to help referring doctors and their patients,” said Charles Smith, M.D., executive associate dean for Clinical Affairs and medical director for UAMS Medical Center. “With MD-Link, doctors with Internet access can have fast, secure admission to their patients’ records here at UAMS.”
Smith oversees the UAMS Physician Relations Office, which spearheaded development of MD-Link.
“We’re excited about this new benefit because MD-Link will provide the information doctors want in a timely, secure and HIPAA-compliant manner,” Smith said. “It’s also free, easy to use and requires no special software; all doctors have to do is register.”
MD-Link is available at www.uams.edu/md. Once registered, doctors can log in to MD-Link by entering their name and password.
The information provided by MD-Link includes patient discharge summaries and operative reports, lab/pathology reports, radiology results outpatient notes and more.
In the meantime, work will continue on other convenient ways for doctors to receive information, such as by fax and e-mail. The focus for now is on an auto-fax-back system rather than e-mail. A statewide survey by UAMS shows that physicians overwhelmingly prefer faxes to e-mail for patient records.
“We recognize that communication with UAMS has been a challenge for our referring physicians, and we know that MD-Link is only part of the solution,” Smith said.
“We’re focused on improvement,” Smith said. “It’s important for patient care, for continuity of care and for doctors to know what we’re doing at UAMS.”
UAMS Physician Relations has held in-service training for faculty and residents that emphasizes ways UAMS can improve its communication, appointment availability and patient transfers.