Summa Western Reserve Hospital's switch to electronic records provides patient safety benefits

Hospital switched to electronic records and will begin trial for federal funds soon

By ALICIA BALOG | Staff Writer Published:

Summa Western Reserve Hospital, a physician-owned hospital in Northeast Ohio, and its outpatient locations implemented an electronic medical records system in March and will begin a 90-day trial period of the system to be eligible for federal incentives within the next month.

Pam Banchy, chief information officer at Summa Western Reserve Hospital, said the main reason for the transition to the new system -- C.A.R.E. One, or Connecting Across the Reserve Electronically -- is for the patient safety benefits having the medical records stored electronically will provide.

When a patient comes into one of the hospital's service points, he or she receives a wristband with a unique bar code that serves to identify them, Banchy said.

After scanning the wristband, there are five points that are verified before the patient receives their medication. If one of the measures doesn't match, the patient won't receive the medications, Banchy said. All the patient's paper documents get a bar code.

Banchy said that there isn't a chance of confusing a patient's info because each bar code is unique to a patient and each person who enters the information into the system uses a password.

"That adds an extra level of safety," Banchy said. Each time a person comes in to one of their facilities, he or she will receive a new wristband and new bar code.

The system makes it easier for physicians to access patient notes and records through computers available in a patient's room, laptops, hand-held devices, such as iPads, and even from devices at the physician's home.

The transition to the system cost in excess of $2 million, said Mark Bosko, executive director of marketing and public affairs at Summa Western Reserve.

Patients and families have had positive reactions to the new system, Banchy said.

"We've also had a couple patients and visitors who said that they have been here with their loved ones as they were receiving care," Banchy said. "And they really felt that their loved one was receiving very good care because they could see everything was available to those who were taking care of the patient so they could spend time at the bedside."

Email: abalog@recordpub.com

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.