Electronic medical record improves patient safety, care
From Spotlight on Health Mar./Apr. 2007
Computers in patient rooms will be a common sight at area clinics and hospitals with the implementation of the new electronic medical record (EMR) throughout CentraCare Health System. While some clinics and hospital departments already have gone through this transition, others will go “live” in upcoming months.
In January 2007, the EMR team began working closely with the Family Medicine Clinic providers and staff at the CentraCare Health Plaza for several weeks to ensure a smooth transition for providers and patients. This site was the first clinic to go live on the new EMR. Several St. Cloud Hospital services transitioned to the EMR in early February.
“Overall, I believe the process went very smoothly and the team worked closely with the providers to make necessary adjustments as needed,” according to Amy Porwoll, EMR project director.
The electronic medical record helps to ensure patient safety. Doreen Schultz, R.N., scans an IV bag to verify
it matches the patient.
As a patient, Vivian Doering, 80, believed it went very well, too. “When I arrived, I was told my appointment may take a little longer than usual. Dr. [Elizabeth] Riesgraf also explained the changes and was very efficient. I really didn’t notice much of a difference,“ said Doering. As providers and staff learn the system, EMR experts may accompany them into the patient rooms to assist with computer-related questions that may occur during visits. As each area moves to the EMR, appointment times temporarily may take longer to confirm the accuracy of each patient’s information upfront and as the providers learn to enter health information directly into the computer during the appointment.
Benefits of the new EMR
Speed. Your medical record instantly is updated and available to caregivers across CentraCare Health System.
Security. Only staff members who need to view the information have access to it.
Patient safety. The electronic medical record helps remind physicians of current treatment guidelines. With prescription entry directly into the computer, the potential for any prescription errors or delays from illegible handwriting is greatly reduced.
Convenience. The majority of your prescriptions can be transmitted instantly to your pharmacy. Office visit summaries can be printed before you leave. When the system is fully operational in a few years, you will be able to securely view most of your medical information online.
Communication. The electronic medical record will enhance the physicians’ ability to consult with colleagues at different sites within CentraCare Health System.