National Nurses Month – Wake County Nurse Shares Her Excitement Over Using NC HealthConnex
In May, we celebrate National Nurses Month. The NC HIEA is grateful for the many nurses in North Carolina who provide outstanding care to their patients every day. Access to clinical and demographic data from providers across the state makes NC HealthConnex an invaluable tool for nurses to improve treatment and health care outcomes.
We spoke with one nurse who uses NC HealthConnex daily as a tool to help her with patient care. Anita Barbee-Reid, who goes by Barbee, is a registered nurse working in the intake area of the Wake County Detention Center.
Barbee says she believes the value of NC HealthConnex is not just for medical staff but also patients.
"It saves money; it makes everybody safe; it is helpful. It helps you to really give good care to a patient or better care than you would have been able to give with no knowledge. I need NC HealthConnex; I need it. It is the blessing of my day."
Barbee gathers health information on new residents (inmates) before they are sent to a doctor or taken for observation or to be housed. She said she loves how NC HealthConnex improves her workflow.
“It is wonderful when you can see [the patient history] and even be able to see the hospital that they were last treated at or their medication. It helps you see a bigger picture about the patient. It helps me to set up where I need to refer the patient while they’re within our jail system so that they get the proper care. We have all these doctors and providers and psychologists who will now have the benefit of the knowledge that I put in the computer.”
The Wake County Detention Center started using NC HealthConnex last year. Barbee finds information through the Clinical Portal, which is a web-based system with a secure login, but the detention center also has the ability to use NC HealthConnex through a bi-directional connection within their EHR.
“We just went to total electronic medical records systems, so adding [NC HealthConnex] with it made it so much better. Now I feel like I’m out of ancient times,” said Barbee.
Barbee began working at the jail in November of 2003. She recalled that it was very difficult to get medical information on incoming residents at that time. Nurses had to spend a lot of time calling doctors’ offices or pharmacies to verify self-reported medications and diagnoses.
“A lot of times, people will come in, they’re frustrated, they’re agitated, they’re upset because they’ve been arrested. Some of them are just poor historians, and they don’t tell you about their health,” said Barbee.
Barbee said NC HealthConnex helps the medical staff in the jail provide continuity of care for new residents with existing conditions such as hypertension or diabetes, even those being treated for cancer. It creates a smoother transition for residents receiving care as they transition in and out of jail or other care settings.
“It helps with their safety because now this person is not in the cell, in a dorm, without care. We are covered when we know the information, and we are able to provide the care,” said Barbee, “You go in and see that there’s some existing allergies like penicillin. So that’s a safety net because if they had gotten sick or gotten an infection where that was the drug of choice, we would know now not to give them that drug. So, it keeps them safe.”
Barbee puts notes from NC HealthConnex into the jail’s EHR for the benefit of providers who do not yet have a log in, but she often encourages the other clinicians to contact their Participant Account Administrator to get set up.
“Participate in it because it opens up a big world for us in the medical field. So, I would say use it, invest in it, participate in it, be willing to share in it, because it will help you with your patients.”
NEW! Office Hour Sessions
The NC HIEA is offering new online “Office Hours” sessions. This quarterly webinar series is a chance for participants to guide the discussion with their questions for our provider relations team. Questions could be pertaining to data connections, the legislative mandate, opt-out procedures, services available, or any other topic that participants would like to discuss.
In addition to general connection and administrative questions, we will have one subject matter expert on hand for specific rotating topics. Our first session will include an expert on NC*Notify.
Registration for these sessions is limited. Please fill out the registration form with your name, email, and question for either our provider relations team or attending subject matter expert. We will do our best to answer as many questions as we can in the hour-long listening session.
Hurricane Preparedness Week
Governor Roy Cooper declared May 1st – 7th as Hurricane Preparedness Week in preparation for the beginning of hurricane season on June 1st. The governor encourages North Carolinians to plan and prepare before potentially dangerous weather arrives.
A reminder that during a hurricane or any weather emergency, health care providers participating in NC HealthConnex, North Carolina’s state-designated health information exchange, can connect to neighboring state and regional HIEs to support access to patient records in the event that displaced patients seek care in facilities from neighboring states.
NC HealthConnex supports bidirectional query and exchange of patient records with participation in the national eHealth Exchange Network. NC HealthConnex participants can use the clinical portal to query, view and exchange patient records, and access other features. Neighboring connections via the eHealth Exchange include:
- East Tennessee Health Information Network (etHIN)
- Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN)
- Georgia Regional Academic Community Health Information Exchange (GRAChIE)
- Veterans Health Information Exchange (VHIE), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Defense joint health information exchange
- Defense Medical Information Exchange (DMIX), U.S. Department of Defense
NC HealthConnex also enables the exchange of patient data with networks in 25 states through participation in the Patient Centered Data Home (PCDH)™ national network. This secure health data exchange initiative managed by Civitas Networks for Health notifies North Carolina providers when their patients receive out-of-state care.
To access these connections, members of your clinical team will need clinical portal credentials to look up patient health information. Please follow the instructions (Participant Account Administrator Reference Guide) to proactively request these credentials. If you have questions, contact the NC HealthConnex SAS Support Desk or NC HealthConnex staff.
Habitat for Humanity Team Day
May the 4th be with you – our team was out in force (wink) to build new homes for families in need. The NC HIEA team joined other members of the NCDIT Data Division for an all-day Habitat for Humanity build. With the help of foreman Graham, HIEA employees learned the fine art of framing, building and attaching walls to the outside of the home. Meanwhile, other data teams braved new heights to put siding on homes across the street.
The build took place on Habitat’s newest community, Old Poole Place. The 105-home community is the largest community to date for Habitat for Humanity of Wake County. You can also help volunteer or donate to the cause to build 60 single-family homes and 45 townhomes near Old Poole Road and New Hope Road in southeast Raleigh.
Employee Spotlight – Kimberly Webster, RN, Business Development and Outreach Specialist
Kim started working at the NC HIEA in 2022 as a business development and outreach specialist. Her passion for health care and patient outcomes is what interested her in the job, as she knows the value of information in providing the best patient care. Kim assists participants in understanding how to access and utilize the Health Information Exchange. She also has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and has been working as a Registered Nurse for the State of North Carolina for the last 17 years.
Before working for the HIEA, Kim worked as a nurse manager in physical medicine and rehabilitation and spent several years working in psychiatric medicine and substance use disorder treatment. She has also worked in both inpatient and outpatient family medicine.
Kim likes to spend her free time traveling, reading, and hiking. She is filling out her North Carolina State Parks passport one stamp at a time. She recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to volunteer for a book event and volunteered with NCDIT’s Data Division at the Habitat for Humanity’s building event.
“I use the portal to search for clinical information that I cannot otherwise find in the EHR. I am able to see patient demographics, encounter dates, clinic locations, labs/procedure/imaging dates, allergies, and medications. Sometimes I am able to drill down further to see detailed encounter notes, test results, and procedures.
The tool (Clinical Portal) is useful in confirming patient medical home attribution and open/closed care gaps. The tool is most helpful when a patient is insured by a state program like Medicaid.”
- Lisa Ann Rodebaugh, Nurse Specialist, East Carolina University
- Advisory Board Meeting – Wednesday, June 7, 2023 – 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Online and In-person Info.
- How to Connect Call – Monday, June 26, 2023 – 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Register here.
- Teletown Hall Quarter Two – Wednesday, July 12, 2023 – 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Register here.
- How to Connect Call – Monday, July 31, 2023 – 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Register here.
- NC HIEA Office Hours – Wednesday, August 16, 2023 – 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Register here.
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