We work hard at UVA Health. We do so, in part, because we strongly believe in our missions, especially our focus on community and health equity. And that commitment extends well beyond the walls of our hospitals, clinics, laboratories, pharmacies, and classrooms. So much so that when we wrap up our workdays at UVA Health, many among us volunteer their limited time and considerable talents to help those in need.
A perfect example of this is the Charlottesville Free Clinic, a local nonprofit where volunteers provide free medical and dental care and prescriptions to people who have nowhere else to turn. The clinic was founded in 1992 by Drs. Mohan Nadkarni and Paul DeMarco during their residencies at UVA Medical Center. (Read this UVA Today interview with Dr. Nadkarni to learn more about the clinic and the role it has played in our community during the pandemic.)
About 700 health care professionals, students, and community members volunteer at the clinic, including a sizable contingent from UVA Health. And it's not just our clinicians who assist; our lab techs and IT analysts perform an essential behind-the-scenes function. The clinic cannot conduct diagnostic testing on its own. Therefore, UVA Health's Medical Laboratories run tests and process results for the clinic every other month. (Another community partner does lab work on the opposite months.)
More than 2,600 patients utilize the clinic each year, resulting in more than 8,000 visits. This leads to a lot of lab work. And until recently, the ordering of tests by the clinic and transmission of results from UVA Health back to the clinic was done on paper via fax machine. As often is the case when confronted with a challenge, this is when front-line volunteers and team members on both sides asked, "How can we make this process better?"
So, last month, our Health Information & Technology team implemented a solution bridging the clinic's and UVA Health's different electronic medical records systems allowing for the sending and receiving of lab requests and results seamlessly — and thankfully without the need for hard-copy printouts and fax machines. The benefits of this change are significant. Not only can testing take place faster, but the potential for transcription errors is greatly diminished. More importantly, however, less effort is now required on the part of clinic staff members so they can make more efficient use of their limited time to provide direct care.
So when we proudly say UVA Health team members are good neighbors and make a difference in our community, this is just one small example of what we mean. Simply put, we're members of this tight-knit local community, and we deliver hope by putting the needs of others above ourselves.
Take care and be well!