Published on May 30, 2017
Perhaps the best way to describe Dr. Lee and his St. Vincent de Paul Virginia G. Piper Medical and Dental Clinic is to describe what he does not have. He serves a low-income working population transitioning from an acute hospitalization. His clinic doesn’t have an X-ray machine nor any radiology. He does not have a pharmacy. He does not have a lab, nor could his patients afford much lab work. But what Dr. Lee does have is information through Contexture, Arizona’s health information exchange (HIE).
Dr. Lee is a man on a mission, trying, as he says, to make his patients “perfect” and then send them to where they need to be for ongoing care. The Clinic started to see patients in 1977, and the Clinic has come a long way from being what Dr. Lee describes as a “medical closet” to a comprehensive health center, supported by hundreds of volunteers.
Maurice Lee MD, MPH, FAAFP Medical Director, St. Vincent de Paul Virginia G. Piper Medical and Dental Clinic
Dr. Lee, who sees over two-thousand patients annually, says that “everything changed” when he chose to work with Arizona’s HIE. Dr. Lee’s clinic plays a vital role in transitioning patients from an acute hospitalization to other providers or settings. This transitional care is typically short-term and never goes beyond nine months.
An HIE participant now for more than a year, Dr. Lee says he could not be more pleased. He uses the Contexture’s patient portal to get the most current information on most of his patients, and he is currently reviewing other Arizona HIE tools and services, such as direct secure email. Dr. Lee provided the example of a 43-year-old patient who came to the Clinic recently. The patient presented a number of symptoms such as severe headaches, horrible stomach pains, loss of vision, and numbness in the feet. She had been hopping from emergency room to emergency room, trying to treat their diabetes themselves, since she did not have active health insurance and was taking a turn for the worse.
“By being able to access the Contexture HIE patient portal for all our patients, we are able to provide appropriate care and treat patients as they should be treated,” said Dr. Lee. The portal allows Dr. Lee to see the records on previous hospital visits and other information in the HIE, including information on previous emergency admissions, lab and radiology results, clinical notes and recent prescriptions.
Using the patient portal allowed Dr. Lee to treat his 43-year-old patient in the most efficient way possible. He explained that he was able to rule out possible medical causes and focus on the core issue, which he ultimately determined was anxiety. Dr. Lee did not have nor need sophisticated medical technology because he had the most current patient information through the Arizona HIE. By using Contexture’s patient portal, Dr. Lee shared that he was not only able to save the patient three or four visits, but money as well.
By offering HIE services at no charge to community providers such as Dr. Lee, Contexture is contributing to the St. Vincent de Paul’s mission of, “Sustainably increasing the health and well-being of the community by empowering those who have the greatest need and the least resources available to them.”
“The HIE is changing the way we practice medicine, for the better!” said Dr. Lee.