Remember playing the game of telephone as a kid? Get in a straight line. Whisper a message. Repeat until the message reaches the end of the line. The final message is often nothing like the original. “Altru reached Stage 7 in HIMSS” could become “All through the stage rang 11 hymns.”
The old school way of transposing medical records was much like a game of telephone. Gone are the days of thick, color-coded pen-and-paper charts. Nurses no longer decipher handwritten notes to input important medical information. A paperless environment eliminates opportunities for errors. Information is now entered into the system directly from the caregiver.
In January of 2015, Altru Health System reached Stage 7, the highest level of electronic medical record adoption through HIMSS Analytics. Only 1 percent of providers in the nation have reached this dual clinic-hospital status, and Altru is the first in North Dakota.
Simpler for Staff, Simpler for Patients
Remember the days of filling out a new paper questionnaire, listing your entire health history, at every appointment? Those days are gone—for both you and your provider’s office. No more re-entering data into a new chart.
Charts are now carefully and safely tucked away in digital form, easily accessible from virtually anywhere. From a doctor’s office in Rugby, to a hospital room at Altru, to your personal iPhone or tablet, your electronic medical record is completely portable.
People in rural communities can receive care at Altru and easily have their medical records transferred. The safe, digital exchange of information is much faster, potentially saving the patient time and money (not to mention, a headache).
Best Practices for Quality Care
The electronic medical record is built to help guide patient care using best practices. At Altru, we’ve seen a positive impact on quality metrics as a direct result of streamlined technologies.
We are always striving to reduce the number of patient falls. From 2011 to 2014, our fall rate improved significantly from 4.5 falls/1,000 days to 3.1/1,000 days. Sometimes, all we need is a simple reminder. Epic helps our staff take better care of hospital patients by creating reminders throughout the day. For instance, to reduce falls we identify patients at risk in Epic. Through the technology, nurses are prompted to round hourly, with more frequent reminders for at-risk patients. Best practices will also pop up regularly, improving quality of care in a number of ways.
Advanced technology provides a solid foundation for analytics and data. This is becoming more and more important in healthcare as we are continually evaluated on our quality performance, directly impacting the patient experience.
While reaching Stage 7 is an exciting milestone, it’s more than a certification. It’s about consistently providing the highest level of electronic medical records to our patients, ensuring records are portable, well organized and accurate. Electronic medical records make patients’ lives healthier and healthcare providers’ lives easier.
After all, the game of telephone is fun for kids. Not healthcare professionals.