QCS Senior Writer
Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital is joining the Presbyterian Healthcare Services organization in adopting a new electronic health and financial record keeping system that hospital officials say will improve patient care for Quay County residents, those traveling on Interstate 40 and U.S. Highway 54 and those enrolled in the PHS health insurance network.
The new electronic health records (EHR) system was implemented by the Wisconsin-based Epic Systems, and it cost the entire PHS system about $200 million, said Amanda Schoenberg, PHS spokesperson.
Schoenberg said Trigg Hospital will be included, along with Presbyterian’s other hospitals, clinics and urgent care centers around the state, in one integrated financial and health record keeping system.
All Presbyterian facilities will be connected to each other with the same Epic software, which is used by 300 well-respected healthcare organizations in the United States, Schoenberg said. The Plains Regional Medical Center in Clovis switched to the EHR on June 1, 2013, followed by the three network hospitals in Albuquerque on Dec. 7.
Schoenberg said the new electronic system will provide better patient care and improve hospital efficiency.
“This is going to help ensure that the patients are receiving the best care possible at Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital,” said Lance Labine, hospital administrator.
Labine said the EHR is an example of Presbyterian’s commitment to providing the best healthcare possible to the patients, adding that the EHR system is one the largest investments made by Presbyterian.
Labine said that primarily, the EHR system will improve medical record-keeping designed to enhance evidence-based medicine.
The new EHR, he said, gives doctors instant access to a patient’s medical history. If a work order, for an x-ray, for example, is needed, doctors can place the order electronically into the Epic System. Before, Labine said, a doctor would have to physically deliver a paper copy of the work order.
Labine said the new system also allows a doctor to see at once all treatments a patient has received at any Presbyterian hospital or clinic, decreasing the chances of unnecessary double treatments. With the new system, he said, everyone who is caring for a patient has access to the same information. There are safety checks in place to avoid conflicts between new medications and treatmentand ongoing medical treatments.
Schoenberg said the system has a pop-up feature that will notify a physician about new medication that might conflict with an existing prescription.
Labine said the system also helps a specialist who receives a patient on referrel from a primary physician, because the specialist can see the prescribed medications or treatments the patient has undergone before referral.
PHS emergency room personnel will also be able to refer instantly to complete medical data on PHS patients through the new EHR system.
“In the event the patient can’t respond to questions, staff have a way to access that vital information if it is on the system,” Labine said.
Labine said Trigg’s 98 staff members have been training since February to become familiar and efficient with the new system when it goes online. He said there will be support staff at the hospital for three to four weeks after the system goes live to help with any issues.
“The support staff will be there to help the staff become comfortable operating the new system,” Labine said.
Labine said the hospital has also remodeled the nurse’s station to work with the EHR system and has installed 48 workstations on wheels. Patients will notice computers in every room, he said, and doctors will use them instead of paper charts.
Labine said patients should be assured that Presbyterian personnel researched many systems before deciding on one secure enough to be trusted with their patient’s medical records.
“We assure them their records are completely secure,” Labine said. “In fact, the system has made their records even more secure” than they were before EHR.
Labine said enhanced safety systems will keep track of who accesses a patient’s information. Each user must pass through several levels of security. Each employee’s access to the system is tied directly to their employment profile.
“These safeguards are in place to ensure the privacy of the patients data will be protected,” Labine said.