New EMR system transforms delivery of safe patient care

Akron Children’s Hospital’s upgrade to the new Epic electronic medical record (EMR) system has been likened to trading an old Atari game system for Xbox LIVE.

According to Patty Hornacek, BSN, RN, Epic training manager, the hospital’s previous EMR systems were maximized and not able to support future needs, while Epic’s advanced technology is already enhancing safety and care delivery for patients and their families.

A healthcare management software system, Epic integrates financial and clinical information across inpatient, outpatient, ancillary, ambulatory and payer technology systems. Information in Epic is shared securely in two ways – when a physician or clinician controls the flow of data across the organization or when patients control their own health information.

“The standardization of information for one patient in one system using one database is significant,” said Hornacek. “Information is now readily available to facilitate decision-making and report clinical outcomes.”

Epic also supports compliance with current and future regulations and is helping to transform Akron Children’s care delivery.

“We already provide excellent care, but we want to continue to improve patient experiences and operational efficiencies,” said Hornacek.

Epic facilitates this by:

“EMR is an important tool that can be leveraged for the good of our patients,” said Jeff Hord, MD, director, Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders, and past president of Akron Children’s Medical Staff. “It improves communication and the sharing of medical records between providers. There is simply less room for human error, whether it be a scribbled prescription or miscalculated dose.”

National recognition for EMR adoption

Six months after going live with Epic on our inpatient units in June 2012, Akron Children’s ranked in the top tier of hospitals nationwide for EMR implementation.

HIMSS Analytics, a not-for-profit subsidiary of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, gave Akron Children’s a Stage 6 designation (out of seven stages) on its EMR Adoption Model scale. This scale is used to rank about 5,300 hospitals nationally.

“This is a huge achievement and puts Akron Children’s in the top 10 percent of hospitals nationwide,” said Tom Ogg, Chief Information Officer.

According to HIMSS Analytics, Stage 6 designation recognizes Akron Children’s for achieving key implementation goals, such as going live with our lab, pharmacy and radiology management systems.

Stage 6 hospitals have clinical data repositories that allow doctors and clinical staff to retrieve and review patient records. They have complete nursing documentation, computerized order entry and a very high percentage of physicians using the EMR in the inpatient setting. Akron Children’s has already achieved Stage 7 levels on several of these metrics, putting us in the top 2 percent of hospitals nationwide.

Patient Safety

Raising the bar with barcoding

In conjunction with the launch of the Epic EMR, Akron Children’s also implemented a new barcoding system that ties into it.

Through this system, every medication given to a patient, as well as the patient’s identification band, is scanned to verify the “five rights” – that the “right” patient is getting the “right” medication in the “right” dose at the “right” time and by the “right” route.

This helps to minimize the risk for medication error, while ensuring the safest care possible.

“We implemented two huge practice changes simultaneously in June 2012 that have become ingrained into our processes in a very short time,” said Marti Atkinson, BSN, RN, an Epic credentialed trainer. “This is a testament to the great teamwork between our nursing, pharmacy and IT staff.”

Initially, compliance reports were generated daily to measure the staff’s progress both individually and by specific unit, but reports are now done weekly. In the months since the system launched, compliance for patient and medication barcode scanning has reached nearly 100 percent.

“The installation of barcoding equipment across the organization was a huge investment, and it reflects our commitment to patient safety,” said Atkinson. “Our nurses have come to appreciate how important this double-check is to their practice and the prevention of medication errors.”

Patient Safety
Published: September 4, 2013
Publication: Other

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