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Electronic Medical Record Improves Quality Of Care

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

After nearly two years of planning and implementing a pilot program, Children’s Community Pediatrics (CCP) is launching an electronic medical record system as another way to continually improve patient safety, quality of care and health outcomes.

The electronic medical record system allows for quality improvement, best practice alerts in real time, health maintenance reminders, portability and much more. It replaces paper records, and information is more complete and easy to read. The system also checks for allergies, dosages and verifies prescriptions.

“We are very excited about the rollout of this project. It supplements and reinforces existing patient care safeguards. This can only improve the safety and care for all of our patients,” said CCP Medical Director David H. Wolfson, MD, FAAP. CCP is the largest pediatric and adolescent primary care medical network in western Pennsylvania, partnering with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC to provide quality pediatric and adolescent primary care in communities in eight counties.

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The electronic medical record system is portable and can be accessed via a secure Web site. Best practice alerts are delivered in real time through the system and offer recommendations to physicians and nurses via alerts based on a patient’s medical history, Dr. Wolfson said. For example, alerts can serve as a reminder for needed vaccines, lab screenings or blood pressure monitoring. They are suggestions for the caregiver to consider, he added.

“The program was tailored specifically to meet the special needs of our offices, which includes multiple outpatient visits as opposed to a lengthy hospital stay” Dr. Wolfson said. “We have designed this to offer significant benefits to the patient, all the while maintaining the personal approach and feel that CCP offices are known for.”

Another system feature will allow physicians/staff to utilize the computers in exam rooms for educational purposes. For example, staff can play a video to show a young patient how to use a nebulizer. Or, pictures can easily be uploaded right in the exam room to educate parents on chickenpox or poison ivy.

“The sky is the limit on what we can do with this new system,” Wolfson said. “From static images to educational videos, we can utilize this system to take our patient’s care to the next level.” The electronic record is not just a tool for physicians, it can be an interface for patients to visual resources and information while they are in the exam room

The second phase — expected to be implemented later this year — will include electronic prescriptions that can be sent directly to a patient’s pharmacy. Currently, prescriptions are entered and printed electronically for patients to take with them.