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Electronic records at CRMC

Monday, May 21, 2007

Cherokee Regional Medical Center is replacing all paper records with electronic records
Currently, approximately 25 percent of patient records in the United States are electronically filed, with the other 75 percent stored in a paper file. Many patients have medical charts that have multiple volumes and are several inches thick. You can only imagine the inefficiency in trying to retrieve and communicate this information on paper. Hand written documents, a complex filing system, and thousands of paper records contribute to this inefficiency.

On April 27, 2004, President Bush called for the majority of Americans to have interoperable electronic health records within 10 years, and in doing so signed an Executive Order establishing the position of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The National Coordinator was charged with developing, maintaining, and overseeing a strategic plan to guide nationwide adoption of health information technology and the electronic medical record (EMR).

EMR Improves the Safety and Quality of Your Care

The EMR is the central repository of all a patient's information. The EMR provides care providers a comprehensive view of patient information including; demographic, historical and clinical information. Information from all care settings within the healthcare system - clinics, hospitals, and home health practices is stored and available through the patient's medical record. The electronic medical record ensures that treatment decisions are based on the most up-to-date information and that care is coordinated between multiple care providers. An EMR will make your chart easier to read, easier to access, and easier to share with other care providers….leading to better and safer medical care.

CRMC Support of the National Healthcare Technology Initiative

In 2005, CRMC declared their support of the NHTI by installing the Dairyland Healthcare Solutions computer information system. Since then, CRMC's transition from the paper-based medical record to an electronic medical record has been evolving in phases. On June 1 2007, CRMC's newest and most visible computer application "Clinical Documentation/Clin Doc" will be operational. Clin Doc provides the around-the-clock nursing and ER staff with the functionality for capturing clinical and non-clinical data at the bedside via the bedside computers. This information can than be shared across a spectrum of care settings (hospital, clinic, and home health), and span all clinical departments (X-ray, Outpatient Clinic, Lab, Physical Therapy) creating a patient-centric longitudinal EMR.

EMR Is Not Without Some Concerns

One of the biggest concerns heard from patients is about patient confidentiality. Confidentiality is an absolute cornerstone of the provider-patient relationship. CRMC is in total agreement that nothing should interfere with patient confidentiality. CRMC's EMR, has excellent security controls. Only providers with a "need-to-know" have access to your medical information. This, in combination with very strict policies and staff education, may make the EMR more secure than the present paper record. Privacy is a full-time job and continues to be a high priority of CRMC and our staff.

Today, CRMC is well positioned for the future, the nationwide adoption of health information technology, and the electronic medical record (EMR).

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