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Thomas Asfeldt: Technology Has Been Fantastic for Integrated Care

Technology has been fantastic for connecting multidisciplinary teams and providing truly integrated care, explained Thomas Asfeldt, MBA, RN, director of Outpatient Cancer Services at Sanford Cancer Center.

Technology has been fantastic for connecting multidisciplinary teams and providing truly integrated care, explained Thomas Asfeldt, MBA, RN, director of Outpatient Cancer Services at Sanford Cancer Center.


How are technology innovations helping to deliver care using multidisciplinary teams?

Technology has been fantastic. I think my health system we launched our first EMR [electronic medical record] about 12 years ago. And prior to that, you know, we had paper charts. So, this would have been much more challenging to do that then. So, technology has been fantastic for multidisciplinary care. Just the simple things that we think about: an EMR. I can pick up an iPad and log in to my EMR anywhere now essentially. There’s a few third-world countries that I can’t do it in. But I can get the information for my patient anywhere. So, that allows anyone who is on our integrated care team to have access to information for this patient.

The second piece of technology that’s really been fantastic is when we have our multidisciplinary care discussions when the team comes together to talk about what are we going to do for this patient, what’s the best plan of care, or discuss what’s been going on with the patient, all they have to do is sit down at a computer with a Skype camera, which costs you $15, very cheap, and they can log in and participate together as a team.

So those 2 pieces of technology have provided enormous resource in bringing the multidisciplinary team together so they’re operating in an integrated fashion. And that has huge resources for the patients, that those people are doing it together, essentially in real time versus “I’ll mail you the paper chart, when you get it in 4 or 5 days, take a look, then we’ll have a conversation. Oh, will you send it back to me again?” So, I’m glad those days are gone. EMR certainly is not without its challenges, of course, but it has brought enormous resources and return on what we’ve invested in it.

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