First outpatient clinic converts to electronic records

April 20, 2010 | News, UToday
By Meghan Cunningham

The University of Toledo Medical Center’s first outpatient center has begun using electronic medical records.

The South Toledo Internists at the Glendale Medical Center went live Tuesday with the electronic system, Horizon Ambulatory Care by McKesson, that aims to provide more efficient and timely care for patients.

“I think it went remarkably well, and the clinical staff worked their tails off to make it work,” said Dr. Bryan Hinch, ambulatory medical information officer. “They all stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park.”

It is the first conversion of the hospital’s more than 30 ambulatory, or outpatient, clinics that will go electronic as part of the University’s overall digital campus project.

An ambulatory or electronic medical record is much more than taking a piece of paper and scanning it to create an electronic record, explained Hinch, who also is an assistant professor of internal medicine and pediatrics, and associate director of the internal medicine residency program.

The electronic system uses templates to quickly and accurately input and update patient information, and it keeps all of a patient’s records in one place, no matter how many different specialists treat him or her, for a comprehensive record of treatments and prescriptions, Hinch said.

The system includes several helpful components when it comes to prescriptions because the system not only automatically updates the medication list when prescriptions are ordered, but checks for allergies and interactions as well as insurance and Medicaid or Medicare coverage for the medication. There are similar checks for labs and other procedures, Hinch said.

“An ambulatory or electronic medical record gives patients higher quality, more efficient and more timely care,” Hinch said. “And it allows for more timely and more accurate information to be available at the point of decision making for the physicians.”

With the Horizon Ambulatory Care system and access to the existing Picture Archiving and Communications System that stores X-rays and CT and MRI scans, physicians have patient information available with a mouse click.

Electronic medical records also allow for faster lab results than the current system that requires faxing results, sorting the mounds of paperwork, and then getting them in the hands of physicians, Hinch said.

More clinics are scheduled to convert from paper to electronic systems soon.

Look for more updates on the Digital Campus project on myUT and UT Update.

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