In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act mandated that hospitals in the USA move to electronic medical records (EMR) systems by 2014. For small community hospitals, the mandate to go paperless poses some significant challenges – in particular, finding the right information technology and funding it. Yet, one community hospital – Platte Valley Medical Center in Brighton, a city of 35,000 in Colorado, USA – found a way to obtain and harness advanced information technology to benefit patients and providers; literally revolutionizing the way patient health data is recorded, stored, accessed, and used to help enhance patient care.
Quality and Workflow Improvement
With the help of Siemens Soarian® Clinicals, Platte Valley Medical Center (PVMC) implemented a brand-new, paperless system – eCareNet – on July 24, 2011. When PVMC launched eCareNet with a “big-bang” approach (bringing all system components into production at once), benefits for patients and providers were immediate. Physicians and specialists can now access a patient’s chart at the hospital or remotely at their offices or via mobile device, any time of day. The technology frees nurses from tedious charting duties and allows more time with patients. Importantly, the system supports PVMC patient quality initiatives and provides extra safeguards to the medication administration process. When medication is ready to be administered, barcodes on a patient’s wristband and the nurse’s badge are scanned. The system will notify the caregiver if a potential problem arises, such as a drug-drug or drug-allergy reaction.
Buying the Future
Another major plus, according to PVMC Chief Financial Officer Harold Dupper, is the efficiency realized in the final coding process. Since the electronic medical record is virtually complete at discharge and physicians do not have to trek down to Health Information Management to sign off on a file, the number of delinquent files has been reduced significantly and the time to bill-drop has decreased. PVMC was well aware of the potential of information technology to transform care. “We had to position our hospital for success in the future as well as meet stringent regulatory guidelines,” explains Dupper. “The goal was ‘one patient, one record’ with clinical decision support as a foundation. Everything had to be driven by computerized physician order entry [CPOE],” he adds. Now, new infrastructure seamlessly connects the EMR with clinical, pharmacy, and financial functions. Most importantly, in today’s demanding healthcare environment, patients and staff benefit from exceptional quality and improved workflow.
Significant reduction in manual documentation tasks, freeing time for direct patient care
Seamless interoperability with, and immediate access to, multi-modality data by physicians, eliminating the need to track down reports or test results from ancillary
Increased patient satisfaction, due to increased hands-on knowledge of care by nurses and doctors
Improved timeline for billing cycle, significantly reducing delinquent files
Support for hospital efforts to prevent drug-drug or drug-allergy errors
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