Kitsap Mental Health Services looks to improve patient service


Kitsap County writer

Kitsap Mental Health Services (KMHS) is enhancing its record keeping system with new hardware and software that allows the full digital transfer of patient records, with the purpose of improving patient service.

“This will allow us to better manage all the information about our clients,” said KMHS Information Services Director Tracy Thompson. “It will make our clinical services more streamlined so we will not spend as much time with the administrative piece. And it will eliminate the errors that are caused by illegible written orders.”

The new program, Unicare Profiler, will eliminate the use of paper patient charts. All those involved in patient care will input data into a network system residing in a database.

New providers who become involved in patient care are given access to the records for the time they are working on the specific case.

Thompson said the system will allow real-time documentation of patient care and direct input during an appointment — bypassing the extra step of taking notes during an appointment and entering them later (and less accurately) into the computer.

“We can write the notes into the computer when we are with the client,” Thompson said. “The report can be completed before they even walk out the door.” 

The system is scheduled to become active in spring 2008. KMHS staff has already spent a year in preparation and training, with many workers taking computer instruction at Olympic College.

“There are significant numbers on our staff that don’t use computers every day.” Thompson said. “So we needed to give them a way to brush up their skills.” 

While it increases efficiency the service will also save money, as health workers are not reimbursed for time spent filling out charts. The system will decrease time needed to perform those functions.

“This will improve our service,” Thompson said. “It will give us quicker access to information in emergency situations.” 

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