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Release Date: 4/15/2013

St. Anthony’s ranks with top ten percent of hospitals nationwide for implementation of Electronic Medical Record system

St. Anthony’s Medical Center is among only 10 percent of hospitals in the nation – and only 13 hospitals in the state – to have attained a Stage 6 score in HIMSS Analytics’ United States Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM).

Jim Weldon, chief information officer at St. Anthony’s, received the reward in February at the national HIMSS Analytics convention in New Orleans, La., which was attended by 35,000 representatives of health systems from across the U.S. HIMSS Analytics is an organization that provides data and analysis to healthcare providers. The seven-stage EMRAM scale is used as a benchmark by hospitals across the United States and into Canada.

The advances translate to superior care, Weldon said.

“The premise is, the higher you climb on this ladder, the better you’re using this electronic medical record, and the more you’re using it for patient interaction, improving safety and minimizing errors,” Weldon said.

In the past, for instance, nurses administered drugs by walking to the medication cart and retrieving the pills or liquid, put them in a cup and walked them down to the patient. Under the new, closed-loop medication administration system adopted recently, the medication is ordered through the system, known as Epic, and is brought to the floor through the Pyxis system. The nurse takes the medication to the patient room, unopened, and scans the patient’s armband to ensure the medication and dosage are accurate. If the doctor has written a change order, or if the medication is for the wrong patient, a warning screen will come up on Epic. Another warning will come up if the medication is known for harmful interactions with another medicine the patient is taking.

“It really cuts down on medical errors, and helps patient safety,” Weldon said. “If there’s some reason to clinically override the warning, they can. But all that kind of functionality is in the system right now.”

St. Anthony’s began implementing the electronic medical record system in January 2010, and one year ago ranked at Stage 3 of the EMRAM scale, which is the current rank of the majority of hospitals in the U.S. On July 1st, 2013 the third phase of Epic will be implemented, ushering in real-time electronic documentation during surgical procedures and revenue cycle functions such as billing and claims.

The final stage of the EMRAM scale, Stage 7, involves the complete implementation of the electronic medical record and the continuity of data between the Emergency Department, ambulatory and outpatient departments.

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