Medical Professional Publications

Why I Use CareLink (And Why You Should Too)

(From the November 2017 Issue of MedStat)

Written by Laura Phillips-Chou, MD

Dr. Phillips-Chou and familyDr. Phillips-Chou, pictured here with her family, has been practicing medicine at Building Blocks Pediatrics since 2013. She received her medical degree from Wright State University School of Medicine and completed her residency at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Like many primary care docs, I start my day running through my patient schedule. This patient needs vaccines. This one needs labs. This one was referred to the specialist. This one was seen in the ER. Typically, more information is needed on at least one or two of my patients per session. Is there no consult report documented because they didn’t go, or because we didn’t receive one? What were the final lab results from the visit? What was the ER physician’s plan for follow up?

In primary care, every moment counts and unfortunately sometimes continuity of care can seem impossible and time consuming. While Nationwide Children’s Hospital tries to send us helpful consult and ER information, the information can be lacking and doesn’t always seem to make it through the fax machine in time to truly be helpful.

I have found that my personal log-in to CareLink is the fastest and most complete way to help provide good continuity of care for my complex patients. CareLink, a remote accessible web interface to Nationwide Children’s electronic medical records, allows for a level of continuity of care otherwise limited by fax machines and patient family hearsay. By logging in to CareLink, I am able to pull up my patients’ charts, access their labs and imaging study reports, see the last time they were seen by the ER or the specialist, and read the actual physician notes from those encounters.

It takes me a maximum of 30 seconds to log in and typically only a few seconds to find what I need. For me, this is faster than asking the nurse to track down labs or reports, or trying to interpret what the family gathered from the visit. If we are seeing an ER follow up the nurses know to print out the physician note for the encounter prior to my visit with the patient, which does save some time for me.

The most time-saving aspect of CareLink for me has been the ease of communication with specialists working at Nationwide Children’s. Most specialists can be messaged through CareLink. I have shared quick messages with Hematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, and GI. Through CareLink we can discuss specific patients confidentially and help map out the best follow up plan without sitting on a phone and waiting to speak to a specialist who doesn’t know my patient. In our practice, we have found some specialists to be less responsive to these messages, but the vast majority of them have been prompt and very helpful.

Logging in through CareLink, I have immediate access to all my patients’ physician notes, lab results, and radiology results. In the beginning of my career I felt that logging into CareLink would be cumbersome and inefficient. A few years later I find the exact opposite is true. CareLink has saved me lots of time and frustration and rarely a day goes by when I don’t use it.

If CareLink appeals to you go to NationwideChildrens.org/CareLink.

Question for Dr. Phillips-Chou? Email her at LChou@COPCP.com.

The opinions and policies expressed in MedStat are those of its contributors, and are not necessarily the opinions or policies of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Nationwide Children’s Hospital does not endorse or recommend any specific opinions, policies, tests, physicians, products, procedures, or other information that may be mentioned in MedStat. The content made available on MedStat, such as text, graphics, images, and other material contained on the website are for general educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Reliance on any content provided by MedStat is solely at your own risk.

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