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Alaska Community Health Aides and Practitioners (CHA/P)

Alaska Community Health Aides and Practitioners (CHA/P) and the Electronic Health Record (EHR)

The Resource and Patient Management System (RPMS) EHR assists healthcare providers to electronically manage all aspects of patient care by implementing a full range of automated functions supporting patient review, encounter, and follow-up. Supplanting paper-based records, the EHR supports immediate electronic recording of patient care activities and allows simultaneous access at multiple, geographically distant sites. The CHA Program uses this capability to support real-time consultation between remote CHA/Ps and the centrally-located nurses, physicians, and other providers who support them. Finally, the EHR provides single-point access to patient administration functions.

Community Health Aide Program (CHAP) staff from across Alaska collaborated with Indian Health Service staff to:

  • Customize the EHR graphical user interface to meet the needs of the CHA/Ps by making the EHR mesh efficiently and correctly with the Alaska Community Health Aide/Practitioner Manual which guides each patient encounter.
  • Create and maintain a CHA/P EHR step-by-step user guide.
  • Develop and conduct superuser training to teach EHR functionality and demonstrate point-of-service encounter entry.

As implemented by regional CHA Programs, use of the EHR by Health Aides and Providers has produced the following results:

  • Enhancement of patient safety and reduction of rework in administrative functions and billing through the virtual elimination of legibility problems common with hand-written records.
  • Reduction of drug-drug and drug-allergy interaction incidents through automated adverse reaction checks.
  • Improvement in patient care while increasing CHA/P efficiency and effectiveness through the EHR's capability to track and forecast recurring healthcare needs (immunizations, annual exams, etc.).
  • Elimination of unnecessary record duplication through real-time sharing of a single electronic record between sites. This also helps ensure that the information viewed at any specific moment is the most current available.
  • Identification of training needs through visibility into patient encounters and use of statistical tools, which allow centrally-located supervisory professionals to develop and target training programs in a timely manner.

CHA/Ps play a principal role in improving access to care, health, wellness, and the overall quality of life experienced by Alaska Natives and American Indians who live in some of the most remote and isolated areas of Alaska. This unique program continues to adapt to advances in medicine and the evolving health needs of the population, and it does so at comparatively low cost.