Expanded primary care options come to Port Orchard
November 4, 2009 · Updated 10:23 AM
Harrison Medical Center christened the second phase of its Port Orchard facility this week, opening a center that will eventually house up to six primary-care physicians.
“In January, we brought urgent care to Port Orchard,” said Harrison President and CEO Scott Bosch. “This is the next step, bringing primary care to the area in a way that’s integrated with all of our other hospital services.”
Harrison has offered paperless treatment in its hospitals for some time, but connecting the service to primary physicians is new.
“This is a new era of connectivity for medical care,” Bosch said. “We can now give doctors across the community access to information.”
The 6000-square-foot facility will start with two and a half doctors, eventually gaining full strength.
“We are recruiting for these positions right now,” Bosch said. “We are providing critical services to South Kitsap residents that will expand their healthcare options.”
The electronic records system has been in place for a few years, decreasing the possibility of errors resulting from incorrect data entry or illegible handwriting.
“Primary care hasn’t integrated the Electronic Medical Record process yet,” said Dr. Mark Hoffman, one of the facility’s charter physicians. “We’re now able to pull the entire county into a single system. It will eliminate errors and decrease costs.”
Hoffman said many patients might have trouble getting seen in an emergency room setting. In those cases a primary care setting, where the patients can make appointments in advance, will be a better option.
Dr. Brad Andersen, who is also on the team, said that Kitsap County has the same health concerns as other regions, facing large percentages of obesity and hypertension.
Bosch said Harrison’s facility will be able to meet Port Orchard’s needs as it is expected to cover a service area of around 59,000 people.
The building, which houses a radiology center in addition to the urgent and primary care departments, has about 9,000 square feet of unused space to be used in a yet-to-be-determined function.
“As we grow we don’t want to duplicate facilities that are already available.”
Both Andersen and Hoffman are pleased with how patients are more aware of their health, and ask a lot of questions about their treatment.
Patients who challenge their doctors’ conclusions will benefit from hearing the treatment explained.
“If we can’t explain why we are doing something then maybe we shouldn’t be doing it,” Andersen said.
“Patients are getting more savvy about their health,” Hoffman said. “People are saying, ‘I looked this up. Is this for real?’ and it opens up the treatment strategy for discussion.”
Hoffman said that a lot of reputable medical information sites offer good advice, which the doctor should consider.
While there is a lot of bad information available online, patients generally benefit from a site that is connected to a university or a large medical center.
“People are getting more involved in their own healthcare,” Hoffman said. “The days of a doctor coming into an examination room and saying, ‘Here, take this,’ and walking out are over.”