The University of Colorado Hospital was founded in 1921 by the Colorado General Assembly as partof the University of Colorado medical campus. Seventy years later,it became University of ColoradoHospital Authority governed by a nine-member board of directors. The Authority owns and operatesa 373-bed general acute care hospital,seven outpatient clinics and University Home Therapies,Inc.UCH is the region’s leading tertiary care and referral center. It is the primary teaching hospital of theUniversity of Colorado Health Sciences Center campus and is comprised of the Schools of Medicine,Nursing,Dentistry,Pharmacy and the Graduate School,the Colorado Psychiatric Hospital and otheraffiliated centers.UCH is capitalizing on an opportunity to reinvent its healthcare delivery system as part of a campus-wide relocation of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center to the former Fitzsimons ArmyMedical Center. The opportunity to create a new academic health sciences center on the FitzsimonsCampus is made possible by the agreed upon transfer of approximately 217 acres of the FitzsimonsArmy Medical Center to the University of Colorado.At the Fitzsimons Campus,UCH has taken a major step forward in the concept of providing ambula-tory care by creating an ambulatory complex,the Anschutz Centers for Advanced Medicine,that isdistinct and separate physically and functionally from the inpatient hospital. All aspects of these newCenters are based on a vision of putting patients first and involved in their own care. The master planfor the Anschutz Centers focuses on the “satisfied patient”experience including easy access andparking,all services needed to support the care provided,and bringing together all specialties so thatthe patient has true “one stop shopping.”This vision has become the roadmap for an advanced IT infrastructure that includes an enterprise-net-worked Electronic Medical Record,wireless systems,and other technology tools. It has also been theimpetus for an organization-wide e-health initiative that will ultimately employ the Internet to moredirectly involve patients in their own care,through online access to a variety of registration,schedul-ing,insurance,and patient care information.
PROJECT PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES
UCH’s e-health strategy began as a comprehensive vision that encompassed the development of smaller individual projects. These projects include 1) email as a means to improve the process of care(patient satisfaction survey) with a secondary goal of defining a population of internet-savvy patients,2) Clinician-patient email communication analysis,3) Providing patients electronic access to theirunedited medical records.
Electronic mail (e-mail) is an increasingly used communications technology. However,relatively fewclinicians have used e-mail to communicate with patients. In November of 2000,a survey by Medem,a San Francisco-based e-health company,showed that 10 percent of physicians were e-mailingpatients
. On the other hand,patients have tremendous interest in e-mail:in August 2000,a survey byVHA,a nationwide network of community-owned health care organizations,indicated that 35 per-cent of patients would consider switching to an e-mail accessible clinician
.There are several concerns about potential usage of e-mail to communicate medical issues. Manyphysicians are concerned that patient e-mail will be an additional workload and liability burden for analready busy practice. In addition,there is growing concern about the “digital divide”separatingthose who have Internet access from those who do not. Mandl showed that e-mail and Internet usegrew from 52 percent to 72 percent from 1998 to 2000 among families of a pediatric practice,but thatInternet access was proportional to income.
UCH CEO E-mail Pilot Project
A pilot project initiated in February 2001 has made e-mail communication with the organization’sCEO available to patients at a UCH heart clinic through a special kiosk in the clinic lobby. Each timea patient signs on to communicate with the CEO by e-mail,they are asked three questions:•Did we (UCH) see you on time?•Did we answer your questions?•Did we treat you well?
2002 HIMSSProceedings: Educational Sessions
Session 75/Page 3