On November 21st The Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium's Traditional Foods Project hosted a Unity Dinner in Wrangell. The event was complete with traditional dancing, traditional foods, and Native regalia. There was a plethora of fall foods including deer, moose, goat, sockeye, seaweed, black cod, and lots of berries (including soapberries). The dinner was part of a concerted effort on the part of SEARHC Health Promotion to support Alaska's Native population with traditional foods and promote a healthy lifestyle. Dancing, hunting, gathering and fishing requires a lot of physical exertion and results in a lot of nutritious food. We look forward to continuing to be a part of these gatherings in the future.
The Indian Health Service Electronic Health Record (EHR) is now being used at all SEARHC ambulatory care areas, and this week moved a step closer to using the EHR for inpatients. About 80 Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital inpatient physicians, nurses and nursing assistants received EHR training for inpatient clinical documentation including progress notes, nursing assessments and vital signs. On Monday December 16th, nursing staff on the Acute Medical Services unit will start using the EHR for their clinical documentation, and Social Services will start documenting the inpatient care they provide in the EHR as well. Physicians will start using the EHR for their inpatient documentation a few weeks later.
This moves SEARHC another step closer to a comprehensive electronic record for each of our patients. This will be especially beneficial when, for example, an Elder from Angoon is admitted to Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. The inpatient staff in Sitka will be able to review his or her Angoon clinic visits prior to the patient's arrival at MEH. Then, after the Elder returns home and comes to the Angoon clinic for follow-up, his or her provider will be able to review records from the patient's inpatient stay. No more separate, incomplete and inaccessible paper charts located in multiple places!
This week IT installed new computers in a work room next to the Acute Medical Services nursing station, and new computer workstations have been ordered for inpatient rooms for providers and nurses to use right at the bedside. Along with answering EHR support calls, the SEARHC EHR implementation team continues to work on lab, radiology and pharmacy configuration so that inpatient staff can place orders and view results in the EHR. The target for complete go-live for inpatient EHR is early April of next year.
This week seven Primary Dental Health Aides (PDHAs) from Juneau, Sitka, Haines, Kake and Angoon gathered for the annual PDHA Updates Conference in Juneau. The Conference is a week of continuing education covering a wide range of dental topics with an emphasis on oral disease prevention. It is also an opportunity for the PDHAs to meet as a team to discuss and share ideas on how to promote oral health as many of them are the sole permanent dental provider in their community. Thank you to Edy Rodewald, Rowena Reeves, Sean Huntley, Melissa Morgan, Dr. Newton, Dr. Nascimento, Dr. Blanchfield, Dr. Booth, Dr. DeYoung, Lisa Cone, and Olivia Barrow for their involvement in the Conference.
In order to ensure that we provide the best patient care and services possible, SEARHC has partnered with health care industry consultants, Press Ganey Associates, to gather patient satisfaction information through email surveys for all SEARHC outpatients.
All outpatients seen at MEH, ELMC, or a CHS clinic who have provided SEARHC with an email address will receive an email survey to rate the services received during a visit that took place approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior.
These confidential surveys cover topics such as wait time, access to our facilities, moving through a visit, interactions with nurses or assistants, assessment of provider’s service and efforts, as well as an overall assessment that outlines a few areas covered in the survey. Patients will also have the opportunity to provide comments as well.
As of November 23rd, we will be moving from a weekend Walk-In Clinic model at the Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau to scheduling specific appointment times for patients on Saturday and Sunday.
It is our goal to provide access for patients without causing them the inconvenience of waiting to be seen on a first come, first served basis. This will make the process much smoother and provide the convenience of knowing one’s appointment time in advance, thus decreasing the long wait to be seen by a provider.
Our clinic and pharmacy hours at the Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau have permanently been extended. The clinic and the Pharmacy are now open from 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM Monday through Thursday and 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM on Friday. The weekday hours were previously 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM.