Benefits for Healthcare Providers
The Registry has solved many of the problems historically associated with advance directives, and now with the expansion of the services offered, the U.S. Advance Care Plan Registry℠ is even better than before. Read the list of problems below, followed by a description of how the Registry has helped solve that particular problem.
Problem: Hospitals and multi-hospital health systems do not have an efficient way to store, retrieve and share advance directives.
Solution: The Registry provides an easy, efficient and low-cost way for hospitals to manage all of their advance directives, retrieve them quickly and share them throughout the entire health system. The Registry also provides a management system and accompanying documentation for compliance with federal and state regulations regarding advance directives. One of the other problems that the Registry solves is the accessibility of the advance care plan documents by health care providers and first responders outside of the hospital. Because of strict security measures put in place to protect the electronic medical record, it is often difficult or even impossible for emergency personnel to retrieve a document from the hospital electronic medical record while on a call. As a separate entity, outside of the electronic medical record, the Registry is accessible to emergency personnel, and with our Emergency Personnel app, they can access a document while on the way to a call by searching for the address of the location where they are headed.
Problem: People don’t know what advance directives are.
Solution: The Registry helps educate the public about advance directives through this web site, its printed brochure “Will Your Health Care Choices Be Honored If You Become Incapacitated?”, and its highly acclaimed “Living Will Fair” Guide that gives step-by-step instructions to health care providers on how to sponsor an educational community event about advance directives.
Problem: People don’t know how to prepare an advance directive.
Solution: The Registry provides resources on this web site that will help people learn how to prepare an advance directive. The Advance Directive Forms page gives background instructions on what you should consider in preparing the document, and also has links to sites containing the form specific for your state. The Registry also has an on-line form Wizard, that will guide you through the process.
Problem: People don’t know where to store their advance directive, and don’t routinely update it.
Solution: People are commonly told to give copies of their advance directive to their family members, doctor and attorney. But when the time comes to find the document, it is usually not available, or is so old that some may doubt its validity. By definition, these documents are prepared well in advance of when they will be needed, and they are commonly put away for “safe keeping”. This makes them difficult to find during the stressful period when you’re ill and the document needs to be found. In addition, you may become ill while away from home, and most people do not carry their advance directive with them when they travel. By registering your advance directive with the Registry, you can rest assured that hospitals and health care providers across the country will have access to your document no matter where or when it is needed.
Even if your document is available, it may be outdated. If you have not confirmed your choices recently, there could be a question as to whether the document still accurately reflects your wishes. That is why the Registry sends you a letter every year to update your information. Each year you are reminded to update telephone numbers and and addresses of your emergency contacts, and to confirm that the wishes you wrote in your advance directive are still valid. This date of confirmation is listed on your wallet card, and is provided whenever your document is accessed. In this way, there will be no doubt that your document is still a valid representation of your wishes.
See the “How it Works” page for details.
Problem: Family members are forced to make difficult, guilt-ridden end-of-life decisions for their loved ones when the advance directive cannot be found.
Solution: Even when someone has prepared an advance directive, if it cannot be found when it is needed, family members are asked to make difficult decisions about the care of their loved one. By registering your advance directive with the Registry, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that your family members will not be placed in such a situation. Your choices will be available to your doctors and family members wherever and whenever needed.
Problem: Health care providers have a difficult time managing all of the advance directives they receive from patients.
Solution: Health care providers are required by law to ask their patients if they have an advance directive, and to place the document into the medical record. Storing these documents and retrieving them has proved to be very difficult for providers. How does the provider know that the advance directive on file is the most recent? Which of the multiple charts on a particular patient contains the most current advance directive? Who has the time to search through the medical records to find the old advance directive each time a patient is re-admitted? What does a provider do with the advance directive when they convert their charts to electronic form, or microfiche? The Registry is the solution to all of these problems. By using the Registry to store their advance directives, health care providers do not need to maintain their own storage and retrieval system. They have 24-hour access to the Registry by telephone or Internet, and can retrieve a document in seconds. Because the Registry contacts each registrant annually to make sure their advance directive has not changed, providers are assured that the documents they receive from the Registry are up to date. Only health care providers have access to the documents, so privacy and confidentiality are always maintained. With our exclusive Living Vault® service, all of a facility’s advance directives (even those currently on file in the record room) can be managed by the Registry. This comprehensive system is an economical and efficient way for health care providers to manage their advance directives and comply with federal and state regulations. It also enables Health Systems that have multiple hospitals, nursing facilities and hospices to easily share advance directives with other facilities in their system.
To summarize, the Registry offers the following benefits:
- Patients have the peace of mind that their health care choices will be carried out no matter when or where they become ill.
- Family members are not left to make guilt-ridden end of life decisions.
- Doctors are able to provide care while honoring the wishes of the patient without ethical dilemma.
- Organ donor information is available immediately to help make the organ procurement process easier.
- Health care providers are able to comply with state and federal regulations regarding advance directives.
- Health care providers no longer need to maintain their own storage system for advance directives.
- Emergency contact information is available immediately to providers with a simple, toll-free phone telephone call or a visit to a secure web site.
- Facilities within a hospital network or health system can easily share documents.
- Above all, the confidentiality and privacy of the patient’s document and identifying information are maintained.