Healthwise Maui

Q: My middle school daughter came home from school and said they had been taught the “BE FAST” technique for recognizing stroke symptoms. I’ve only heard of “FAST” — when and why did that change and what are the BE letters for?

Dr. Cordia Wan, neurologist: It’s important to “BE FAST” in recognizing signs and symptoms of a stroke, because the faster someone gets treatment, the better his/her chances are for recovery. The “BE” part of “BE FAST” was introduced earlier last year. It stands for “Balance” and “Eye” symptoms. It was added to the “FAST” portion of the acronym (“Face,” “Arm,” “Speech” and “Time”) to help catch more strokes affecting the back of the brain. Everyone should know “BE FAST” so they can look out for these sudden stroke symptoms and call 911 immediately: B) loss of balance; E) trouble with vision such as blurriness or double-vision in one or both eyes; F) drooping on one side of the face; A) weakness/numbness in one arm or leg; S) trouble with speech; T) and note the time the symptoms started when calling 911.

Q: I recently took a friend to the Maui Memorial Medical Center emergency room. She had numerous tests and images taken. She was told that Kaiser computer systems can’t share data with non-Kaiser medical clinics on Maui, and that her doctor would have to call and have the information faxed. Is that true, and if so, what is being done to fix it? I can’t believe that would be allowed to continue. This is supposed to be a community hospital, not a Kaiser hospital.

Brian Coogan, director of IT Management, Maui Health System: The computer system that you are referring to is our EHR (Electronic Health Record) system, built upon the EPIC platform. There are many disparate EHR systems within the community that speak different “languages.” This is a universal issue that is unrelated to being affiliated with Kaiser Permanente and existed prior to our transition from a state facility to Maui Health System (MHS). For all EHR systems to be able to communicate seamlessly, dedicated interfaces would need to be built to each provider office and would require both parties to be willing to collaborate, dedicate resources and share costs to implement. To overcome these challenges, we do offer a provider portal to all our community primary care physicians called Online Affiliate. This web-based tool is linked to our EPIC EHR system and allows physicians to view their patients’ medical records if they have been treated at MHS. If there are any access issues with the provider portal, we can then fax or securely transmit the medical records and patient information to providers’ offices. MHS is committed to working closely with our community providers to ensure that your information is shared in a reliable, secure and timely manner, and we will continue to work toward building on our existing platforms to achieve a more integrated solution.

* Physicians, providers and administrative staff who practice at Maui Health System hospitals and clinics answer questions from the public in “Healthwise Maui,” which appears on Thursdays. Maui Health System operates Maui Memorial Medical Center, Maui Memorial Medical Center Outpatient Clinic, Kula Hospital & Clinic and Lana’i Community Hospital and accepts all patients. To submit a question, go to the website at mauihealthsystem.org/contact.