Wed Feb 21 2007 By Jon Tatting
Patients may be noticing a new and improved approach in how they’re receiving care at Cambridge Medical Center.
The approach: an electronic medical record system — a computerized version of the paper system — designed to enhance the safety and quality of a patient’s care.
Allina Hospitals and Clinics and CMC have been busy loading patient charts into the electronic system, which includes medical history relating to allergies, medications, test results as well as contact and insurance information.
While the medical center this month has gone “live” in transitioning its clinic or outpatient areas, CMC is expected to be up to speed with the emergency department and overall hospital by the end of 2008.
“We’ve loaded 10,000 charts (out of 137,000) in the past few months,” said Dr. David Pearson, noting the learning process takes hours of intensive training.
Under the new electronic system, patients will have one record that will follow their care from one clinic to any other Allina clinic, hospital or outpatient facility, which has transitioned to the new system.
The system is also designed to improve the safety and efficiency of a patient’s care as caregivers will have faster access to test results, medical history, medications and prior health conditions. It automatically cross-checks any new prescriptions a caregiver is considering to avoid negative interactions with allergies and current medications.
“This is the biggest change in practicing medicine since medical school, residency,” shared Dr. Pearson of his journey with the new system.
Allina is implementing the biggest integrated electronic system in the country, noted CMC President Dennis Doran.
“It’s a big expense for the betterment of patient care and efficiency. It will be really appreciated by patients,” he added.
Impacts on patients
The new system can retrieve medication information that may be hard for a patient to remember.
Blood orders can be sent electronically without the hassle of paperwork.
Meanwhile, the system will offer a better sense of communication from receptionist to physician.
In light of scheduling, it’s a learning process at Cambridge Medical Center where 400 employees will be impacted by learning the new system. At first, doctors may see less patients in a given day so they can learn as they go.
How it works
During an initial visit, patients will provide their medical history, insurance and contact information so they can be entered into their new electronic medical record. This will save time for future visits as patients will simply verify and update any information.
Information contained in a patient’s medical record may be transferred to another facility outside of Allina or to an Allina facility that has not yet transitioned to the new system.
Doran and CMC staff noted this technology was not available to the medical profession until three years ago, due to security and confidentiality measures.
Privacy held to high standard
Allina and CMC emphasize the privacy of medical information will be more secure than ever, internally and externally, through the new system.
Only medical providers and personnel involved in a patient’s care will have access to his or her record. Another feature monitors who has accessed a patient’s medical information.
In about six months, patients will have access to My Chart, a secure Internet tool designed for individual medical records.
Through My Chart, patients can log onto their medical record via a personalized code and password from their home computer. They can view their medications, diagnosis, lab reports and any background information on various health issues or diseases.
Patients can also make doctor appointments online.
With patient permission, instant health-related updates can be shared with other institutions via My Chart. It features a patient’s chart review, progress notes, test results, flowsheets and even graphs showing one’s progress over a certain amount of time.
Article Source: www.isanticountynews.com