Today marks a week since Atlantic General Hospital’s ER went live with Allscripts Sunrise Clinical Manager, the new electronic medical record for the hospital. Spirits are high at the organization because the transition from paper to computer has gone more smoothly than anyone could have hoped.
“We’re very excited about the go-live,” said Colleen Wareing, vice president of patient care services for Atlantic General Hospital. “Making this change to a completely electronic environment in the ER has required the hard work and cooperation of so many different departments. But, the first time we were able to connect with a patient’s records in his physician’s office to pull up a complete medication list was incredibly rewarding.”
This is only the beginning. From the ER, the IT and clinical teams will move on from department to department throughout the hospital, working to link up the electronic medical record for the entire organization. Go-live for all of Atlantic General is planned for November 2012.
At that point, the health care teams providing care for a particular patient will be able to pull up his or her records as that person travels through the hospital from an ER admission to an inpatient stay, to any surgeries or testing during that stay, through to discharge.
The process actually began, not with the ER but, with the primary care offices of Atlantic General Health System that adopted an EHR in 2008 and 2009 and then transitioned to the Allscripts system earlier this year.
When the EHR is launched for the entire organization in 2012, vital health information will flow seamlessly between Atlantic General Hospital and its health system of employed primary care providers as well as any independent physician practices that come on board with the technology. This will greatly improve patient safety and speed the delivery of care in both the inpatient and outpatient settings because so much more information is at the caregiver’s fingertips.
“You can’t say enough about the value of this technology,” said Barbara Riddell, vice president of information services at Atlantic General. “It can be tough for the layperson to grasp its importance, but what we want our patients to understand is that the more patient information a doctor or nurse has at their disposal, the better the care is going to be. And that’s what this system provides: ready information – medical histories, drug allergies, test results, physician orders and notes – all in one place.”
“It’s going to be quite a process,” said Michael Franklin, the hospital’s CEO. “But, it’ll be well worth it to be able to provide more coordinated care for our community.”
About Atlantic General Hospital
Atlantic General Hospital has been providing quality health care to the residents of Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset (Md.) and Sussex (Del.) Counties since May 1993. Built by the commitment and generosity of a dedicated community, the hospital’s state-of-the-art facility in Berlin, Md. combines old-fashioned personal attention with the latest in technology and services. Atlantic General Health System, its network of more than 25 primary care provider and specialist offices, care for residents and visitors throughout the region. For more information about Atlantic General Hospital, visit www.atlanticgeneral.org.
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