E-Records Improving Cares: October 20, 2013

Chances are you are part of the system. Lee Memorial Health System initiated the move to electronic health records more than a year ago. It is constantly expanding to include hospitals, doctor’s offices, and outpatient care settings.

“What we are doing is making all relevant clinical information available to any provider that has a need to know. A provider being a physician, physician extender or a nurse,” says Mike Smith, Lee Memorial Health System chief information officer.

Now a national study credits e-records for both reducing emergency room visits and hospital admissions in diabetic patients, likely due to having full medical records available at all times in all locations.

“There’s a lot of benefit in terms of enabling physicians to make better decisions with better information. And then there’s also the redundancy and having complete information at one time,” says Smith.

As e-records expand to more settings, it offers a wider knowledge base for each patient. As they travel through the health system, their medical history follows them.

“Anytime a patient comes to me for a nutritional consult, I always have current labs,” says Valerie Butram, cancer dietitian with Lee Memorial Health System.

 Butram relies on these records to make an action plan for her clients.

“When I do a nutritional screening interview, basically I have some base knowledge from our EPIC system, our electronic medical record, of what their history was prior to them coming and I can already see many of the oncology medical staff’s notes and testing that has occurred,” says Butram.

Creating one true record is paying off locally by avoiding duplication and streamlining treatment.

“There are already incidences where that seamless record has made a difference in the care delivery for patients,” says Smith.