More efficient healthcare with EMRs

February 13th, 2013 | Posted by Kevin Corley in Document Management | Information Management | Workflow

Hospitals are rapidly transitioning to electronic medical records (EMRs) for more efficient provider workflow and an improved patient experience. Digitization has made the exchange of patient information easier for medical providers, allowing for faster, more accurate decisions.

The Herkimer Telegram reported that New York’s Little Falls Hospital is one of four in the Bassett Healthcare Network that switched to electronic document management. Little Falls chief executive officer Michael Ogden explained that health care delivery will be easier, safer and more effective with the new system. Doctors and nurses now have easy accessibility to patient records, including charts and prescription histories, from electronic workstations inside and outside of the examination room.

“Whether a patient is seen for follow-up care by a Bassett specialist here at Little Falls Hospital, Bassett’s Herkimer health center or needs to go to Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, up-to-date information on that patient is at the doctor’s fingertips thanks to the EMR,” he said, “And, because information is entered real time into the EMR, the patient’s primary care physician is up-to-date as well.”

Centralized management promotes accessibility
Ogden further explained that because all patient documentation is contained in one unified record, doctors can provide more informed follow-up sessions and quicken decision-making. All hospitals within the Bassett Healthcare Network can access electronic records, meaning that care is better coordinated. Additionally, providers can electronically incorporate medication and treatment information into EMRs which reduces room for error and allows doctors to electronically submit prescriptions to a patient’s pharmacy. Ogden hopes that in the future, patients will be able to access health-related information and test results through an online portal.

Family Health Care of Siouxland Indian Hills Clinic also revolutionized its processes by going paperless. Barb Held, manager for the clinic, told the Sioux City Journal that previously, full-time  transcriptionists were necessary to record physician dictation, but EMRs have eliminated that need. Physicians can now directly input information into the electronic record from a laptop, which has greatly improved the clinic’s overall workflow and made documents easier to read. Instead of filing massive amounts of paper, staff can simply use document imaging technologies to scan records directly into the clinic’s system, which is then available with a single click. As a result of the transition, Held told the news source that physicians always know where patient’s records are at all times. While paper charts were at risk for getting lost in the office, electronic records are securely stored and easily searchable.

Converting to an EMR system ensures that doctors are more capable of providing consistent, quality service to patients with reduced room for error and fewer administrative burdens.

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