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The University of South Alabama Health System – including USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, the USA Medical Center, and the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute – implemented Electronic Health/Medical Record software on May 1, 2012.
At the same time, the USA Physicians Group implemented an enhancement in their Electronic Medical Record system to include billing. An EHR/EMR (Electronic Health/Medical Record) is an alternative to paper charts, where physicians document encounters with patients.
“The new system approach will have particular benefit to patients who use the USA Health System for all their medical care,” said David Blough, chief information officer for USA Hospitals. “It will provide more efficient and effective delivery of care.”
According to Beth Anderson, hospital administrator at the USA Medical Center and Mary Lou Bowers, associate director of operations and finance at the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, the EMR concept is important for several reasons.
“The new system will assist in capturing patient information and will improve efficiencies for both staff and patients alike,” said Anderson.
According to Bowers, benefits of the EMR software include immediate access to patient records in multiple locations and to multiple members of the care team simultaneously; organization of data; and accountability of work product.
“The system provides improved access to patient data and allows the care team the opportunity to create flow sheets and tables to manage data for decision-making,” Bowers said. “It benefits patients by minimizing wait time and ensuring that the latest data is accessible.”
In addition, the new EMR system will eliminate duplicate testing due to lack of information and will eventually interact with the Next Gen outpatient system to integrate all patient information in clinical areas.
“The go live event on May 1 went well with some minor issues, which is to be expected,” said Anderson. “Overall, comments from end users have been very positive.”
Susan Gulledge, director of business services for the USA Health Services Foundation, said the success of this project is based on intensive planning and the commitment of all employees. “As we bring this new system online, we are improving our workflow processes and improving the care that we provide to our patients.”
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