EMR Offers Patients Peace of Mind

“Are you allergic to any medications?”

 

EMR Super UsersGenesis staff proudly pause
for a photo with the new EMR
computer that's at each
patient bedside. 

In the past, nursing staff at Genesis repeated that question, and others, to every patient along each stop in the hospital experience. The safety strategy dramatically reduced unnecessary allergic reactions, but by the end of their stay, many patients felt tired of answering the same question … again. That was before Epic. 

Epic is the name of a high-tech clinical information system Genesis recently began using, and it has changed everything about how a patient’s medical care is documented. Now, patients have an electronic medical record (EMR) that instantly follows them wherever they go in the hospital, and in their doctor’s office in some cases.

Nurses and physicians have access to patients’ EMRs at the bedside so they can view X-rays, be alerted of allergies, and review patients’ medical histories. Patients in the hospital are also given a personalized, bar-coded wristband to wear during their stay, and the wristband is scanned before medications are administered – making sure the right dose of the right medication gets to the right patient – every time.

“Epic offers our patients peace of mind,” Abby Nguyen, R.N., B.S.N., M.B.A., director of Genesis Medical Services, said. “When providing health care, there are so many behind-the-scenes stops and checks to make sure everything is done correctly. With Epic, if something doesn’t match up, the system will alert staff right away and the situation will be immediately rectified. So, in addition to patients, our health care providers have peace of mind, too.”

Epic also increases efficiency. For example, physicians and nursing staff now enter orders and notes directly into EMR, versus jotting down notes and charting official documentation at a later time. Not only does Epic eliminate extra steps, it removes potential problems with deciphering handwriting or transposing documentation. 

To intertwine efficient access to EMRs with the need for safety, the secured system requires a username, password and even biometric fingerprints when physicians verify orders and staff administers medication.  

“It sounds like something you might see at the movies, but this is the future of health care,” Nguyen said. “Computers are located at each patient’s bedside so our staff and physicians can immediately access the EMRs. We spent countless hours planning and training for Epic, and we were happy to do it, because we know this is taking our health care delivery up another notch for our patients.”

Thanks to Epic, the entire patient experience is transformed. From hospital admittance, to laboratory tests, to imaging procedures and medical treatment, to follow-up appointments at a physician’s office – Epic provides safety, efficiency and seamless accessibility to accurate and up-to-date information, every step of the way.

“This makes Genesis a leading health care delivery system in the country,” said Ed Romito, vice president and chief information officer. “We are among 1.6 percent of hospitals in the U.S. that are at the same stage of adopting EMRs. We’re proud to be able to offer such a high level of clinical, safety and service excellence to our patients and our community."

Originally published November 2010

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