Picture this: You’re running behind (who isn’t these days), and you’re about to walk into an appointment for a patient recently treated at a different practice. In your hands, you have 80 pages of ‘records’ that provide little useful information—nothing but line items of services provided or products sold, with no doctor notes or truly helpful information.
We’ve all been there. And even if your veterinary hospital has gone paperless, reading 80 pages on a screen doesn’t help much. (Especially when the pages have been scanned into the system upside down. 🤦)
Record sharing has long been a pain point for veterinary professionals. Whether you’re doing the tango with the fax machine or emailing records and finding yourself at the mercy of spam filters, getting medical records from one veterinary hospital to another can be a tangle of constant interruptions and frustrating slowdowns.
And that’s just sending the records. Don’t get us started on the challenges we face with what information even gets included. (We’re looking at you, pages and pages of irrelevant invoice and history line items).
Bottom line: Record sharing between veterinary hospitals should be as efficient and as painless as possible so we can all provide excellent patient care while protecting the owner and patient information as part of the medical record.
Here at Instinct, we get a lot of questions about record-sharing workflows, especially about how to streamline them. As you might expect, we’ve been working on a solution. We’re calling it Shareville: a helpful one-way portal that allows Instinct EMR hospitals to digitally share records with referring veterinarians via a secure link. Sounds pretty good, right?
Let’s take a look at a hypothetical case of a dog referred to an Instinct EMR hospital, so you can see how the process works—whether you’re the referring veterinarian or the referral hospital. For the sake of this example, we’ll pretend you’re doing the referring.
Let’s say your patient is Rigbie: a 9-year-old MC Australian cattle dog mix who has been admitted to your practice late Friday afternoon with what appears to be severe hemorrhagic gastroenteritis with severe dehydration.
You perform in-house diagnostics, start fluid therapy, and meet with his owner to discuss options for continued hospitalization versus referral to a specialty/emergency center for more advanced diagnostics and 24/7 monitoring.
Rigbie’s owner elects to proceed with the referral, so your team collects records to send ahead of Rigbie’s arrival. A client service representative (CSR) prints PDFs from your PIMs system, scans the treatment sheets, and faxes the records—following up with a quick phone call to the referral hospital to confirm receipt.
The Referral Process
Once Rigbie arrives at the referral hospital, the front desk team adds him to Instinct as a patient and lists your information as well, including your practice name and email address. Once Rigbie is officially checked in, you—as the referring veterinarian—receive an automated email alert that includes a unique patient portal link.
Record Sharing with Shareville
We’ll say it’s your first time referring a patient to this hospital, so Shareville prompts you to create a password to keep the patient’s information secure.
Once you’re logged in, you’re able to review information the referral hospital has elected to share, like bloodwork and charts that are marked as complete (in-progress charts will not be shared). You can continue to check the portal for updated information, and you’ll be notified via email when Rigbie has been discharged.
Pro-Tip: If you’re as overwhelmed with email as I am, this tip is for you. To make sure I see important notifications from Shareville, I’ve added the Shareville email address to my contacts and created a label in my Gmail that labels all Shareville notifications so I have quick access to any portal links or records when they are needed. Set-up is easy if you use Gmail—here’s a quick guide.
Saving Records from Shareville
You’ll be alerted via email once Rigbie is checked out of the referral hospital, so you can access the patient portal and review the information that’s been shared. You can download specific items or the entire visit—or, if Rigbie has been to this hospital before, his entire visit history.
At my hospital, our CSRs are usually responsible for making sure records are up to date in our own PIMS system before a patient’s next visit with me.
Through Shareville, CSRs can download the records and save them into your system—without needing a single scrap of paper. For those still using physical charts, the information can be printed and added to the chart or given to the doctor for review.
Transitioning to a new method of sharing patient records requires some adjustment. But Shareville lets you spend less time searching for emails, calling for faxes, or scanning in documents to keep a patient’s chart up to date. And that means more time for you and your team to focus on actual patient care. Plus, the charts and documents you’ll be able to provide are concise and to the point—without all the extraneous information that most records systems provide.
And that’s just the beginning. Like all Instinct EMR features, Shareville will get even better with your feedback.