At Delano Regional Medical Center its goodbye paper charts and hello electronic medical records. This step into the future is a major part of the hospital’s multi-million dollar new information system. All medical records are scanned, stored and available electronically rather than on hard copy as in the past. An electronic medical record means that a nurse or physician can access their patients’ medical information anywhere they are, and at anytime, to deliver care. Physicians are able to read the results of tests, such as laboratory and x-ray, as soon as the results are done. It is also expected to bring important cost savings in the use of paper and eliminate the need to reorder an image or a test because paper records have been lost.
If a patient goes to the emergency room in the evening and then must be seen by his primary care physician the next day, the physician will be able to immediately access the chart from the emergency room and know the tests given, results and the care the patient received.
Patient safety is built into the new electronic medical record system which enables caregivers to automatically cross check medications against other prescribed drugs, diagnoses, and lab results. Only medical personnel involved in treatment are allowed to access the records, the hospital said. Plus, the level of protection and security of patient information is much higher than with paper medical records.
“In recent years, we have found that we are spending more and more of our time filling out forms and reorder an image or a test because paper records have been lost – this is time that can be spent providing direct care to our patients” said Sandy Bakich, Director of Information Systems. “Once fully operational, we will have an integrated and confidential medical record for each patient that can easily be maintained and retrieved by our doctors, nurses and business office staff.”
“We are extremely proud of our staff and physicians for taking up this significant change and the upfront work that has been required,” Bakich said. “What has made this project run smoothly, is our shared commitment to our patients and to improving our work environment for the people who provide the hands-on care each and every day.”