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YRMC's electronic health records go live May 1
YRMCCare Go-Live on May 1
2,103 YRMC employees trained
500 trained “super users”
19,978.5 hours of training
253 physicians trained
2,656.5 hours of training
Come May 1, Yuma Regional Medical Center will say goodbye to paper charts and hello to electronic health records — touting it as the “greatest health-care improvement project ever initiated in Yuma County.”
Jan McLellan, director of clinical informatics, is thrilled to be able to read doctors' scribbles. “Just the idea of actually being able to read a doctor's order,” she said, laughing.
Electronic records will go a long way in increasing efficiency, noted Dr. Judi Binderman, interim chief medical information officer.
“The traditional model today is I scribble an order, I hand it to a nurse, and it takes five translations later to get what I want. Now things will be much quicker.”
After a $73 million investment and more than seven years of “careful planning, extensive learning and a strong commitment to patient quality,” YRMCCare, the name of the new system, will go live next month.
That means everything in a patient chart today will be part of YRMCCare and accessible in one place electronically. It will affect everyone who works with a patient, from the bedside staff to the physician.
In a media event to introduce the system Wednesday, YRMC board chairman Vic Smith said the conversion to electronic records started with a review of the hospital's mission.
“This is about patient care and patient safety,” he said, and “prudent use of resources.”
Gene Shaw, vice president of information technology and chief information officer, pointed out that the electronic health record is a tool, that when combined with the personal touch of caregivers at the bedside, creates a new level of information sharing, communication and safety mechanisms.
“Most importantly, it expands the opportunity for patients, and the family members they choose, to take an active role in their care.”
Shaw noted that patient care will be improved by replacing handwritten documentation with computer entry, eliminate the need to translate handwritten orders, provide alerts for medication allergies and interactions and reduce opportunity for medication errors.
It will also provide one secure location for patient information. “No more multiple pieces of paper and charts,” Shaw said.
Care providers will have common information such as blood pressure, medications and laboratory results. It will decrease duplicate tests since providers can access reports and exams done at YRMC.
“This will save money for the patient, hospital and insurance company,” Shaw said.
Authorized caregivers and affiliate clinics will have access to the same information, so there is no need to repeat tests or services.
It will also provide faster access to test results. “We'll get the information before the patient gets to the unit,” McLellan said.
It will reduce the amount of paper and time needed to process paper records. Staff will no longer be “chasing charts,” thereby improving efficiency and reducing paper consumption.
“It will be extremely safe and secure. We have built into the system multiple backups, encryption and strict password protection,” Shaw added.
Fred Peet, director of information technology, said the system has “a lot of redundancy and precautions” to avoid down times. But if it were to go down, it would continue to function through multiple servers and backups in other locations.
Information will “never be erased, it never forgets, it can never be lost in a flood or fire,” said McLellan.
As a safety enhancement, YRMCCare automatically cross-references any new prescriptions a caregiver is considering prescribing to ensure there are no negative interactions with current medications and/or allergies.
As for the old paper records, they are already being scanned and after awhile are destroyed.
Patients will be able to use MyCare, a free service designed to enhance medical care by them better access to their medical record information. They will be able to view their health summary, current list of medications and test results, as well as their child's immunizations and allergies. They will receive messages when a new result is released.
In addition, physician offices can use a complementary version that is fully integrated with YRMC and allows physicians to place orders, such as diagnostic imaging and cardiac catheterization procedures, in one location.
YRMC's expectation is that eventually all doctors who work with YRMC will sign up. A number of local physicians and private practices have already done so, with more expected in the coming months.
Machele Headington, vice president of marketing and communications, is looking forward to the first babies born on May 1.
“They will be the first to have electronic records. Their entire life will be on electronic records.”
Mara Knaub can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6856. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSMaraKnaub or on Twitter at @YSMaraKnaub.