The Population Health team at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health (UM SRH) launched a campaign in July 2022 to encourage people of all ages to complete an advance directive and share it with the health care system to be scanned into their personal electronic medical record (EMR).
During the first year of the campaign, Population Health team members Kathy Sellers and Terry Satchell, RN were given an ambitious goal: Collect and scan at least 1,000 advance directives for inclusion in individuals’ EMRs by July 1, 2023. To make it easy for locals to file their advance directive paperwork with the health care system, secure drop boxes were installed outside all four UM Shore Regional Health emergency entrances – Cambridge, Chestertown, Easton and Queenstown. (The documents also may be scanned and sent via e-mail.)
Photo: UM Shore Regional Health Population Health team members Terry Satchell (left) and Kathy Sellers (right) congratulated Easton resident Richard “Brooke” Lynch (center) on being the 1,000th person to submit an Advance Directive for inclusion in his Electronic Medical Record (EMR) at UM SRH since July 2022.
“We also went out and about in all five counties, talking to people at health fairs, senior living communities and community organizations about the importance of advance directives, providing the paperwork and answering questions,” said Sellers.
This outreach helped the campaign gain momentum, and on June 19, 2023, the 1,000th advance directive – completed by Richard “Brooke” Lynch of Easton – landed in Sellers’ email inbox.
“I learned about this opportunity when I spoke to Terry and Kathy during a health fair at the community center where I live,” said Lynch. “I had done my advance directive a few times over the years, so it was a matter of updating it and sending it for inclusion in my electronic medical record with the health care system.”
As the second year of the advance directive initiative gets under way, Sellers and Satchell have a new goal: 1,250 directives completed and scanned into the appropriate EMR by July 1, 2024.
“An advance directive is a gift to your loved ones if you become incapacitated,” said Satchell. “It spares them from having to make difficult choices, from high-tech medical interventions to palliative care, on your behalf. Through an advance directive, you document for health care providers what you want — or don’t want — in terms of your end-of-life care.”
While many people put off completing their advance directive, others do so, but keep the paperwork in a drawer at home or on file in their lawyer’s office, or both.
“In that case, there can be delays in locating your advance directive and contacting the person you appointed as your health care agent,” said Satchell. “This is why we are offering the option of having the paperwork scanned into your EMR, where it can be accessed promptly by the clinicians providing your care.”
“We hope more organizations will be willing to host us to talk to their members about this important aspect of managing their health care,” said Sellers. “We are now working on a new schedule of visits that will start in September.”
For more information or to send an advance directive for inclusion in your EMR, contact Sellers, [email protected]
About University of Maryland Shore Regional Health
As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,200 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.
About the University of Maryland Medical System
The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) is an academic private health system, focused on delivering compassionate, high quality care and putting discovery and innovation into practice at the bedside. Partnering with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and University of Maryland, Baltimore who educate the state’s future health care professionals, UMMS is an integrated network of care, delivering 25 percent of all hospital care in urban, suburban and rural communities across the state of Maryland. UMMS puts academic medicine within reach through primary and specialty care delivered at 11 hospitals, including the flagship University of Maryland Medical Center, the System’s anchor institution in downtown Baltimore, as well as through a network of University of Maryland Urgent Care centers and more than 150 other locations in 13 counties. For more information, visit www.umms.org.