The Roundup -

Roosevelt Medical Center Moves To Next Stage of Electronic Health Records

 

Terrie Turbiville, a nurse at Roosevelt Medical Center, scans a barcode at the nurses station.

As operational expenses continue to increase and stricter regulatory standards have come into place, automated data collection has become a necessity in the healthcare industry. For Roosevelt Medical Center, incorporating a barcode system for tracking supplies is the next logical phase of implementation of their electronic health records system. This further expands RMC's use of integrated technology, going beyond the mandated federal requirements outlined through the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH).

"Both inexpensive and user-friendly, barcodes provide a reliable tool for tracking a variety of data, from pricing to inventory and even overconsumption. The ultimate result of a comprehensive bar coding system is reduction in overhead and savings in time and money," said Sharon Schmitz, Better Health Improvements Specialist for RMC.

Hospital materials management can be extremely time-consuming and prone to human error from manual data entry. By introducing barcodes to mobile terminals, RMC can now easily control inventory supply areas, track equipment in use and make sure that the right supplies are available and delivered on time to the patient.

Before the system was implemented last month, nursing staff had to count their supplies twice a week to report to the Materials Management Department what items needed to be ordered. Now, as nurses go about their day scanning the materials as they use them, that information is instantly stored into the Tech Time EHR system, and can be easily retrieved.

Supplies used by patients can also be directly scanned to the patients ID bracelet, helping ensure an accurate account of charges. Items not chargeable to patients, such as tissues and gloves, can also be tracked. The scanning also makes it easier to track items that arrive damaged or become outdated and have to be sent out of the facility.

Also, at the end of the fiscal year, it will no longer be necessary to conduct large, year-end supply counts, because all of that information will be retrievable from the system.

As another part of RMC's diligence in keeping pace with technology, they continue to encourage patients to sign up for the Health Vault, an internet portal system that enables patients to view and access their medical records on-line from anywhere, at anytime. The Health Vault contains many functions that ultimately enable patients to be more directly involved in their care.

Once a patient is signed up, they can privately exchange messages with their provider, access critical health information in an emergency and manage, see, and share records securely. Patients can even track their weight, nutrition and the amount of steps they take each day if they are on a fitness or healthy eating regiment. There are also printable health information cards that can be used when traveling.

"We are hoping more people will take advantage of this convenient technology because it is helpful and completely confidential," said Brian Fordyce, Information Systems Director for RMC. By logging onto healthvault.com, patients can get started at any time.

Through the three Meaningful Use stages of the HITECH Act, technology is supposed to improve quality, coordination, safety and efficiency while engaging and empowering patients by creating a superhighway of electronic information that can be accessed with the touch of a button.

Once all of the stages of implementation are completed in 2016, it is hoped that meaningful use compliance will result in better outcomes for patients and more robust patient information.

 

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