New healthcare system offers long-term benefits for doctors, patients at Landstuhl hospital

Spc. Todd Goodman
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Public Affairs

***image1***A new Composite Healthcare System will make its September debut in both the Family Practice and Pediatrics clinics at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
Fewer appointments will be a temporary side effect of the computer system.
However, in time the side effects will be outweighed by the advantages. The new system will allow doctors to input everything from a patient’s visit into the system, making medical records much easier to access and share.
“The basic (system) we have is good at recording laboratory information, but it cannot contain pictures or charts that need to be filled in,” said (Dr.) Lt. Col. John Scott, chief of the Department of Pediatrics. “The new system will have that capability and will be a great improvement in the long run.”
Under the old system, doctors had to do a lot of handwriting, always adding things to the patient’s medical records. Inputting information will also eliminate poor penmanship, therefore making the data more readable. Plus, it won’t get lost.
There will, however, be a bit of initial difficulties, he said.
For example, “We won’t possibly be able to see as many patients as we once did,” said Colonel Scott. “It will probably take twice as long as it does now. Longer check-ins and more time to input the doctor’s information — at least for a month or two. I think a lot of patients may end up having to go downtown or to another military treatment facility.”
A simple pediatric case currently takes about 45 minutes, he said.
The Family Practice Clinic also anticipates having a lengthy adjustment period.
“It will take longer for us to see patients simply because we need to get used to the system,” said Maj. Yong Chun, chief of Family Practice. “We have been seeing patients every 20 minutes. After the system change, we’ll probably have to bump it up to every 30 minutes. Hopefully the transition will take only three or four months.”
Staff will begin training on the new system in early September. Patients also can take some proactive steps to help alleviate some of the early congestion.
Colonel Scott advises parents whose children need school and sports physicals to get them done in July or August, before the new system is in place.
Also, many non-life-threatening ailments may be handled over the telephone.
If patients just need some advice from either a doctor or nurse, a simple phone call may do the job. It also will help keep the appointment calendar free.
For more information or advice, call the Pediatrics Clinic at 486-8191 or 06371-86-8191 or call the Family Practice Clinic at 486-7707 or 06371-86-7707.