Mary Rutan Hospital has taken a major step forward in advancing patient safety and quality of care by implementing a comprehensive Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system. The scheduled “go-live” on August 1, 2012 will mark the completion of an ambitious project, which began more than two years ago with the selection of software and months of training with clinicians and staff.
The state-of-the-art electronic system, known as Meditech, creates a single electronic health record for every outpatient and inpatient at MRH. It transforms how MRH providers and staff exchange information across all care settings. While patient satisfaction and improving health outcomes are the chief goals of the new electronic medical records system, the hospital also sees great benefits to physicians who are able to access charts whenever they are in the hospital or their offices.
“The successful launch of our electronic medical record is an historic achievement for Mary Rutan Hospital – another example of our longstanding commitment to deliver outstanding patient and family-centered care,” said Mandy Goble, president and CEO, Mary Rutan Hospital. “Our patients, doctors and staff now have access to an advanced electronic medical record system, which will transform the way we provide care.”
Patient care is what the electronic medical record is all about. For patients it means an increase in safety, alleviating medication errors due to illegibility and the available of medical histories; and access to some of the latest clinical practices made available to physicians and other care providers at the point of care. It can also reduce costs by elimination of duplicated procedures across multiple health providers.
“Meditech ensures secure access to more accurate patient information which results in better clinical decisions, improved care, fewer medical errors, and lower costs,” said Robert Reynolds, director of information systems, Mary Rutan Hospital, who led the system implementation. “It has been a very large, complex undertaking and is absolutely a major milestone for MRH.
“The system allows providers to rapidly gather data, analyze it, and respond more quickly. You immediately have improvements in quality of care and safety,” Reynolds said. “When a provider enters a medication order, it’s completely legible, and for children the dose has been calculated based on their specific weight. The order instantly goes to the pharmacy where it is scrutinized for safety and then gets dispensed to the patient much more rapidly. As a final check, the nurses use bar-code scanners when administering the medications to ensure that it is the right dose of the right medication going to the right patient at the right time.”
“We’ve conducted training for hundreds of employees in the last 90 days. The optimization of Meditech will continue for some time but the biggest and most demanding part has been accomplished. During the conversion, patients and visitors may experience slight delays as staff throughout the hospital adjust.” Reynolds said. “We hope patients will understand and appreciate the numerous benefits to the new system.”
The implementation of the system by August 1st is part of MRH’s strategy to provide “progressive quality health care”, one of numerous goals identified by the hospital in their 2012 strategic plan.
The new system is also secure; following security standards set forth by the Federal Government and is fully HIPPA compliant. It is a closed network with no open internet access. The new system utilizes built-in computer security tracking to monitor all record requests; with audits performed regularly.