The facts about Carle's electronic medical record upgrade
Carle is upgrading medical records in its physician offices. The computer system is also used at Carle Foundation Hospital and providers can access a patient's medical history at the doctor's office or the hospital. The transition at Carle has been smooth and will mean better care for our patients.
There will be a learning curve for our staff and our patient visits may take a little extra time. We appreciate your patience while we transition to the new system.
The implementation, underway since August 29, is going well. While some office visits may take a bit longer for now, this effort includes educating staff, establishing the system and verifying patient data. Actually, Carle physician offices have used electronic medical records (EMR) since 2006. Patients will benefit with the new system because it interfaces with the records program used at Carle Foundation Hospital. A patient's full medical history will be readily available whether that patient needs treatment in the doctor's office or the hospital.
Carle is committed to using EMR to its fullest capacity has been awarded the past two years as one of only 25 hospitals in the country that continue improving use of healthcare information technology. The level at which Carle's system operates places Carle in the top 4 percent of healthcare facilities in the nation for health information management.
We understand that people want to know their medical records are safe. The updated EMR has sophisticated security measures to safeguard patient information. Tracking mechanisms provide an audit trail of all who've accessed a record. That's important since only those who need information to provide care are authorized to view records. This is much better than paper files that could be viewed with no record of who had seen the information.
Your medical records remain on file and highly secure. The previous record system is still in place with historic data. Those files will be manually entered into the new program with multiple cross-checks to ensure that it is accurate.
There are many benefits to utilizing an electronic medical record. An electronic record is shown to improve quality of care and patient safety. Data including allergies, medications and family history, is available for each physician involved in your care. In addition, physicians receive alerts on regular testing that may be needed, or potential drug interactions at the time of prescribing. Using an electronic medical record is recognized as an important factor in improving quality, in fact, the federal government recommends use of an EMR.
Patients who have questions about their records can ask when they're at Carle for service, or may call (217) 383-3333.
Frequently asked questions:
Q: Patient visits seem to be taking longer and I can see staff are new to the system; is everything being entered correctly?
A: We began using this system in the clinics on August 29. Although staff had extensive training, like any new process it takes a while to become completely comfortable with the new format. Doctors, nurses and staff are being extra careful and it may take a little longer. We are getting faster every day and if help is needed, there are plenty of experts to assist.
Q: Why are you asking questions about my vaccinations, medication doses and other history? I can't remember that. Doesn't my doctor have that information already based on previous diagnoses and treatments at Carle?
A: We verify your name and date of birth every time we see you, and we will also verify more details to make sure the information in our records is accurate. Both you and your physician are responsible for your care and it's important to double check your files. The questions are a bit more detailed due to the system upgrade. We appreciate your understanding.
Q: Will any information be lost during the transition to the new records system?
A: Patient data is secured through many measures and the records remain in the previous system. During this transition, it's important that we have complete and accurate information so we're asking more questions to make sure we have the most current information going forward. If an individual is concerned about their information, we encourage them to ask when they're at the doctor's office, or to call us at (217) 383-3333.
Q: Why is Carle spending the time and money on another new computer system? Does my doctor really need a computer to care for me?
A: Having patient medical records available electronically is recognized as the very best way to provide care. The system is able to help us indentify possible medication interactions, and even provides guidance on proven treatments in order to improve safety and quality. Having an advanced EMR takes a significant investment of time and dollars. While Carle is already recognized among the best in the country for using healthcare information technology, this will mean even stronger patient care.