I am now back from vacation. Our summer students did a lot of work while I was away.
In the previous post, I mentioned that we have missing data on smokers; we also found inconsistencies in terms of how the data was entered if the patient was a non-smoker. In this EMR program, a non-smoker is indicated through a check-box; most patients had this data entered correctly, but some had "non-smoker" entered as free text. Our summer student was able to identify all the free text "non-smokers", by looking for terms such as "ex-smoker", "x-smoker", "quit smoking", "non-smoker", "non smoker", and entered the correct information in the check box. We now have a more accurate list of non-smokers for my group.
As well, the summer student put in an alert in all the charts of all active patients age 15 and over who did not have any information about smoking in their Cumulative Patient Profile; while my partner was away this week, I saw one of his patients with an alert, and just added the information. We'll see if this approach works.
Our summer students verified our lists of preventive services, and double checked all patients. They also checked the lists of rostered patients sent by the Ministry of Health for my group, and updated the information in the EMR.
Our FHN administrator oversaw the work while I was away. I have a lot less supervision to do now. The main problem I have is that the students did the work so fast that it was completed ahead of schedule!
The move to the new office is now less than two weeks away. I am very happy that we are not moving our paper files, this considerably decreases the amount of stuff that needs to be moved. I have discarded some old textbooks that hid in my office; I no longer look at them as they are obsolete. We have gotten rid of the vast majority of paper handouts, and now print as needed. My partner continues to have paper in his office and exam rooms; he is currently away, and will need to sort what needs to come and what can be discarded when he returns. We have a common consult room, and there is very little storage space for paper--all opportunities to retain and use paper have been deliberately minimized in the new office. The first two group practices have already moved in on the 7th floor as of last week; I went to visit them, and they are happy so far. Our new offices are much brighter and better laid out, and are taking advantage of the fact that we are paperless.
I had a look at the FHT office, which is being built next door to mine; it will be interesting to work so closely with a large group of Allied Health Professionals. The fact that we are co-located will no doubt lead to multi-disciplinary medical education sessions; we need to start thinking about how to do this.
Speed of access at my current office continues to be an intermittent problem; I have been told that this will be fixed in the new office. We have had several service interruptions in the last two weeks as well, where I had to switch over to my backup internet line. I am not sure what the issue is, but it is always aggravating when things slow to a crawl, and this has been happening all too often recently. We lost service completely a few weeks ago; eHealth Ontario arranged to have a technician come over, and we found out that somebody had pulled out our internet line in the basement! The technician felt that this wasn't vandalism, but rather an error by somebody who didn't realize what this line was; he added a label on the line warning that it should not be removed. We need a stable, fast line; this is key to a well functioning EMR that runs remotely. This function is the core business of eHealth Ontario.
I continue to move towards more prepared, pro-active care. In the past several months, my practice team has decided to help patients prepare for their annual physicals. What that means is that we mail a letter to them asking them to do their blood tests before they come in. The first few letters were sent too late and patients did not have time to do the blood tests; we then decided to send a letter at least a month prior to the appointment. As things evolved, I added a reminder for my new location, added several lab locations, and then also added a space for the secretary to put in the date of the upcoming appointment. They usually phone the patient to remind them of the upcoming appointment, but we decided not to do this anymore, since a reminder letter is being sent. I then added a comment about self management (I got the idea from an article in Family Practice Management) , and then I added the preventive care questionnaire from a Practice Based Small Group module.
Now, once a week, I look at all the upcoming physicals 6 weeks from now, and then print the lab reqs for what I want. My secretary then prints the reminder letter, and mails it to all patients. The majority of patients have all their blood tests done by the time they come in; I ask what they think of this approach, and they feel that it is much better. We have a look at their lab together when they come in, and I print it for them. If there is a problem, my nurse calls, and asks them to do the follow up lab before they come in. I think this works very well, and illustrates the multiple cycles of Plan-Do-Study-Act we are using in my office to try to improve things.
Here is the letter
**We are moving to our new location, 240 Duncan Mill Road, suite 705, Toronto, M3B 3S6 on August 22nd 2009**
We are sending this letter to remind you about your upcoming physical; Please bring all your medications with you (including all over the counter medications and vitamins); please think about your self management goals and what you would like to accomplish at the visit.
APPOINTMENT DATE AND TIME:____________________________
Please have your lab tests done at least a week before you come for your complete physical; all the results will then be available for you at your appointment and can be reviewed with you.
Please make sure you fast for 12 hours before doing the tests. You can have water, and you can take your regular pills (except for medications that lower blood sugar).
You can also have this done at any CML or LifeLab locations. Please make sure you take the attached requisition when you go.
Address: 4430 Bathurst St. -
Cross St: Sheppard Ave. W. Phone: 416 - 636-2040
Hours: Monday to Thursday: 9:00am to 6:00pm Friday: 9:00am to 2:00pm
Address: 5927 Bathurst St.
Cross St: Drury; Phone: 416 225-1629
Hours: Mon to Thurs: 8:00am to 8:00pm Friday: 8:00am to 6:00pm Saturday: 8:00am to 1:30pm
149-1333 Sheppard Avenue
Toronto M2J 1V1 Phone : 416-675-3637
Hours of Operation: Mon. to Thu. 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Fri. 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Sat. 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Toll Free :1-877-849-3637
4800 Leslie Street, Toronto M2J 2K9; Phone : 416-675-3637
Hours of Operation: Mon. to Thu. 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m,
Fri. 8:00 a.m- 4:00 p.m.
217-4949 Bathurst Street, Toronto M2R 1Y1
Phone : 416-675-3637
Hours of Operation : Mon. Tue. Thu. 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Wed. Fri. 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Sat. 8:00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. Toll Free :1-877-849-3637
Preventive Health Questionnaire for Adolescents & Adults
Please complete this questionnaire before you come for your check up.
We will be pleased to help, if you have any problems or questions.
Please circle the most appropriate answer for each question: Y = Yes; N = No; X = Not applicable or Don’t know
Do you always:
• Wear a seat belt when you ride in a car or other motor vehicle? Y N X
• Wear a helmet when you ride on a bicycle,motorcycle, or all-terrain-vehicle (ATV)? Y N X
• Have a smoke detector on each floor of your home? Y N X
• Regularly test each smoke detector? Y N X
Do you regularly protect your hearing against excessive noise? Y N X
If you are over 64 years old:
• Do you have hazards (such as loose carpets, exposed extension cords, and
stairs with no handrails) in your home that could cause you or someone else to fall or be injured? Y N X
Do you (every day):
• Brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste? Y N X
• Floss your teeth? Y N X
• Have you seen a dentist in the past year? Y N X
During the past month:
• Have you often felt “down,” “blue,” depressed, or hopeless? Y N X
• Have you often had little interest or pleasure in doing things? Y N X
Physical Activity & Exercise
Does your daily physical activity add up to at least 30 to 60 minutes? (Include each 5- to 10-minute interval of activity or exercise.) Y N X
If you are planning to be, or could get pregnant, are you taking a folic acid
supplement? Y N X
Potential Risk Behaviours
Do you smoke? Y N X
If you are a smoker:
• Would you like to quit? Y N X
• Have you ever tried to quit before? Y N X
• Are you interested in medication to help you quit? Y N X
• Are you interested in a smoking cessation program to help you quit? Y N X
• Do you have a “quit date” in mind? Y N X
Do you ever:
• Try to cut down on drinking or drug use? Y N X
• Feel annoyed if someone mentions your drinking or drug use? Y N X
• Feel guilty about drinking or using drugs? Y N X
• Drink or use drugs as soon as you get up in the morning? Y N X
• Use alcohol or drugs when you are involved in activities such as driving,
boating, cycling, or swimming? Y N X
If you are sexually active, do you:
• Take precautions to prevent an unplanned pregnancy? Y N X
• Always use a condom to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs)? Y N X
• Avoid high-risk sexual behaviour? Y N X
Are you eating the right number of calories (enough to maintain a healthy body weight) every day? Y N X
Do you limit your intake of fat and cholesterol? Y N X
Do you emphasize grains (such as cereals, whole grain breads, pasta, and rice), fruits, and vegetables in your daily diet? Y N X
Do you take in enough calcium and vitamin D for a healthy body and bones?
Y N X
Thank you for taking care of yourself and helping to prepare for your visit.