Another Children’s First: Fully Integrated EMR
Andrew Sirotnak, MD and
David Kaplan, MD.
Children's Hospital Colorado is the first, free-standing pediatric hospital in the nation to fully implement an integrated Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. This achievement enables physicians and other caregivers to access patient records electronically through secure technology whether they are at Children’s, their office, an outside clinic or other location.
“It’s a very exciting achievement; we went into the implementation of the EMR on a fairly aggressive schedule to meet the needs of the campus transition,” said David Kaplan, MD, professor of pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, and Children’s Chief Medical Information Officer. “There was pressure to get the record implemented for both the outpatient clinics and all the inpatient units, and ensure we have a system that is stable and efficient before we move.”
A major benefit the EMR offers to care providers is having all patient data available in one place, including past medical history, lab results, consults from sub-specialists, images and reports.
“For the first time, we have everything we need available at our fingertips,” Dr. Kaplan noted. “Documentation is much more complete than ever before. It’s more organized; notes are not missing as sometimes would be the case with the paper record.”
Dr. Kaplan adds, “As pioneers in this implementation, we must remember that this process is ongoing, and will be for a long time. We will need fine-tuning and product upgrades that were not installed because of the transition. Everybody has faced changes, in particular, the physicians, who over the years have honed their workflow to improve efficiency and patient care in specific areas. By redefining our workflow, we were on the frontline.”
Joan Bothner, MD, agrees. “It is true that we are in the early stages of the EMR implementation. Although fully implemented, there will be an ongoing and continuous process of re-evaluation and optimization with the goals of enhanced efficiency and multidisciplinary collaboration leading to best outcomes,” she explained. “We now have the opportunity to begin to fully understand and take advantage of the vast benefits of an electronic health record.”
Dr. Kaplan applauds physicians for their support and patience during the complex implementation which began nearly three years ago. “They have worked hard to adjust, and they have invested a considerable amount of time assisting with the system’s build for sub-specialties,” he said.
“It’s a work in process, not just a simple installation,” Dr. Kaplan emphasized. “What is really exciting is that we have many modalities in place that are not in use at other pediatric institutions, and now, they are calling us with questions about our process!”