|First baby of record|
Tidal Casteel Sharples, held by his mother Frances and father Frank, was born Tuesday at 6:24 a.m. and is the first baby born using Yuma Regional Medical Center's new e-records known as YRMCCare.
|New e-records system launches at YRMC|
Yuma Regional Medical Center went live with a new electronic health records system Tuesday that's been 7 years in the making. Staff discussed the challenges and the positive change they say the change will bring to healthcare in Yuma.
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YRMC's e-records go live
After seven years of planning and preparing, Yuma Regional Medical Center went live with a new electronic health records system Tuesday.
“It's kind of like the wedding day is here,” quipped Gene Shaw, YRMC vice president of information technology and chief information officer.
“I feel like I have birthed a baby,” Dr. Judi Binderman, interim chief medical information officer, said.
Dubbed YRMCCare, the new system went live at 6 a.m., affecting everyone who works with a patient, from physicians to bedside staff. Everything that is in a patient chart will now be part of YRMCCare and accessible in one place electronically.
“We believe it will improve quality care and make it safer for patients,” Pat Walz, chief executive officer, said.
YRMC officials noted that the transition had gone as anticipated. About 500 trained “super-users” were pulled from regular duties to focus on supporting physicians and staff. In addition, 18 physicians designated as “champions” were on hand to help colleagues.
“There have been no great surprises,” Shaw noted.
“It's been almost anti-climactic,” Binderman added.
Not surprisingly, employees have been nervous about working with a new system.
“It's literally changed their workflow, changed their routine, turned their world upside down. It's a little scary,” Shaw said.
“The changes are huge. My routine that I've known for the last 57 years today changed. Although I practiced and took the test, there are still huge changes in routine.”
But hospital officials believe that the more employees use the new system, the more comfortable they will become with it.
“By the end of the week, they'll be, ‘Eh, this is a breeze,'” Binderman said.
She expressed confidence in the staff, noting that they've undergone extensive training, with nine to 15 hours in the classroom, proficiency exams and new skills instruction.
Patients have noticed the change and been warned that staff might be a little slower in recording their information. They've asked about the computer monitors hanging on the wall above their beds that look like televisions.
“We have had a lot of opportunities to talk to patients about the new system,” Shaw said. “But we've really tried to focus on patients. This is all about patient quality and care, not about the technology.”
One of the hospital's goal is to increase efficiency.
“In the paper world, handwriting has to be interpreted. If it's poor handwriting, it's a challenge. With the technology, it eliminates this,” Shaw explained.
Doctors' orders and data will be entered into a computer, with no need for transcription and interpretation.
“There will no longer be a need to ask, ‘Where is the decimal point?'” he said.
Through YRMCCare, authorized caregivers can securely view a patient's complete medical history anytime. YRMC and its affiliate clinics will have access to the same information, so there is no need to repeat tests or services.
The new system should also allow faster access to test results. Having one electronic health record that is shared among the caregivers allows them to view a history of results to check for changes and is more efficient than duplicating tests.
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.
“The system has artificial intelligence built into it,” Shaw noted. “It helps decrease medical errors.”
The system also streamlines patient information. Once new patients provide medical history, insurance and contact information, they will just need to verify that the information is current at future visits.
Asked about privacy and security concerns, Shaw pointed out encrypted passwords and user names, strict protocols about who can access the system and a number of redundancies for electricity, cooling and computer server failures.
“We believe the technology implemented is more secure than paper,” Shaw said.
“While the possibility (of a crash) always exists, we don't anticipate it as a reality. If the technology no longer works, we'll focus on taking care of the patient and revert back to paper if needed.”
With an initial budget of $73 million, the largest investment made by YRMC, “we're very, very pleased with the investment we've made,” Walz said.
However, YRMC expects to save money with efficiencies, including a reduction in personnel, which has already begun.
“Much of the savings and efficiencies will be known over the next few weeks,” Machele Headington, vice president of communications and marketing, said.
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.