The Daily Iowegian
---- — After many months of hard work and dedication from the physicians and staff at Mercy, the hospital will officially go live with an advanced electronic health record system at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19.
The new system will help the hospital further improve the care provided to patients and the community by increasing communication and coordination of care across the entire Mercy health network. Results of tests, procedures, care documentation, medications and other pertinent health information will now be paperless and can be electronically accessed by providers involved in a patient’s care.
As always patient safety is the hospital’s first priority. In fact, one of the main reasons behind the national movement toward electronic health records is the increasing evidence that an electronic health record improves patient safety.
The hospital has been equipped with computers in all patient rooms as well as computers on mobile stations for the emergency room. Physicians will be able to place orders and document care on computers as well as personal tablets.
For the past two years, the hospital has been preparing for this change, with a designated local lead team of experts who have been working on every phase of the transition from technology assessment, building and testing of the system to user training. The lead team of Melissa Belloma, Amy Phillips, RN, Denise Eddy, MT and Nancy Barton, M.D., has worked directly with the clinical department managers who all serve as subject matter experts in their areas.
Sherri Doggett, vice president, who is the lead executive for the project, praised the lead team and hospital managers who she says have committed many, many hours above and beyond their normal daily operations to ensure a successful transition.
“Our staff is ready and confident in our ability to execute the go live,” Doggett stated.
Earlier in the year, teams from Mercy–Centerville had gone to other Catholic Health Initiatives facilities throughout the country to assist them with their go live. Now the favor will be returned as more than 30 people will be in Centerville the next couple of weeks to assist the staff and physicians.
Doggett stated that during the first few weeks, patients should expect to see extra staff in the departments as support is provided to the physicians and employees using the new system and processes.
“We understand that this implementation could pose an inconvenience for patients during their stay initially but we will do all that we can to minimize the effect to the patient,” Doggett said.
She stressed that patient information will remain secure and confidential. Compared to paper records, an electronic system is considerably more secure. Access to a patient’s record requires all clinical staff and physicians to be registered within Mercy, they must use their personal password to log in and the hospital closely monitors all computer use. Only those staff and physicians involved with a patient’s care or authorized users can access a patient’s record.
The physicians and staff have been well trained on the system; however there will be a learning curve for many to be proficient using the new electronic way of documenting their patient’s care. There may be some minor delays as they get acclimated to new systems and processes.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience during this time and want to assure everyone that we will continue to provide the same high quality care that our patients and community are used to receiving from Mercy,” Doggett added.