Madison, Wis. – At St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, it’s goodbye paper charts and hello electronic medical records as the hospital successfully “went live” at midnight with the launch of its new EMR from Epic Systems.
The EMR implementation, which has been years in the making, means that a nurse or physician can access their patients’ medical information anywhere they are, and at anytime, to deliver care.
Since the Epic EMR also is fully implemented at Dean Health System, any patient that visits a Dean clinic and then travels to St. Mary’s Hospital will have his or her electronic medical record accessible in both the clinic and hospital settings, according to St. Mary’s.
The hospital expects the EMRs to result in greater time efficiency in providing care, enabling caregivers to automatically cross check medications against other prescribed drugs, diagnoses, and lab results. It also is expected to bring substantial cost savings in the use of paper and eliminate the need to reorder an image or a test because paper records have been lost.
Only medical personnel involved in treatment are allowed to access the records, the hospital said.
St. Mary’s overcame minor technical glitches following the launch but otherwise “it went relatively smoothly,” said Theresa Eckman, EHR project manager.
According to Eckman, the hospital had some technical problems pushing the EMR out to all the desktops, and it ran into some bar code scanner conversion issues, but both glitches have been addressed.
St. Mary’s and its sister hospital, St. Clare’s in Baraboo, are part of the St. Louis-based SSM Health Care, which has 20 hospitals in four states. The EMR implementation, which is part of SSM Health Care’s Project Beacon, will continue as St. Clare’s Hospital goes live in October.
SSM Healthcare estimates that it will spend $330 million system wide as part of the conversion to EMRs. By 2011, SSM expects to have EMRs available on more than 13,000 computers at its clinical facilities in Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, and Oklahoma.