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Electronic health record project on track

Health, Wellness & You
Thursday, June 30, 2011

Late last spring, Fort HealthCare announced a strategic partnership with Cerner Corporation to implement a comprehensive electronic health record (EHR) system. The partnership’s main goal is to upgrade existing health record capabilities at Fort HealthCare and to create a medical record system that provides critical medical data whenever and wherever it’s needed. This access to relevant, integrated clinical information allows medical professionals such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, therapists and lab technicians to communicate instantly with the rest of the patient’s paper medical recordscare team and enables them to make the best care decisions possible. The integrated medical records software will allow all to access one patient record at the same time—an impossible task with a cumbersome paper chart. The Cerner EHR software system, known internally to Fort HealthCare staff as the Compass project, will become available throughout all hospital and clinic locations on August 1.

Cerner is transforming health care by eliminating error, variance and waste for health care providers and consumers around the world. Cerner® solutions optimize processes for health care organizations ranging in size from single-doctor practices, to health systems, to entire countries, for the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, employer health and wellness services industry and for the health care commerce system. These solutions are licensed by approximately 9,000 facilities around the world, including more than 2,600 hospitals; 3,500 physician practices covering more than 30,000 physicians; 500 ambulatory facilities, such as laboratories, ambulatory centers, cardiac facilities, radiology clinics and surgery centers; 800 home health facilities; and 1,600 retail pharmacies.

“This is one of the most strategic initiatives Fort HealthCare has undertaken,” said Michael Wallace, Fort HealthCare President and CEO. “The Cerner system will provide us with clinical and operational information we’ve never had. Better information will help us to deliver better care and help us achieve our vision to be the best independent community health system.”

Wallace further explained the nature of the agreement. “We will implement more than 40 Cerner solutions- a solution being a radiology information system, a pharmacy system, a laboratory system, a nurse documentation system. As a result of increasing use of health information technology, considerable improvements will be realized in the prevention and management of chronic diseases, for example heart disease and diabetes. And, medication errors will be averted.”

As Fort HealthCare converts from one computer system to another, it is possible that some personal demographic information may not be available at a patient’s first medical visit to either the hospital or a clinic. Barb Sorcic, director of clinic operations at Fort Medical Group has been actively involved in the Compass project implementation from the very beginning. “Patients are encouraged to arrive about one half hour early to their first appointment on or after August 1st. Clinic staff will take this time to review the patient’s medical history and make certain that the Compass system has the most accurate and up-to-date information going forward” advised Sorcic.

“They should also be sure to bring their current prescriptions and over-the-counter medications as well as their most up-to-date insurance information,” added Sorcic.