A not-for-profit community-owned healthcare system serving southwest Michigan, Lakeland Health, has revalidated its 3 hospitals and fifteen of its 34 ambulatory clinics to the Stage 7 Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model of HIMSS Analytics.
EMRAM is a process for verifying the progress and affect of electronic health record (EHR) systems at hospitals, which involves 8 stages that measure the hospital’s implementation and utilization of information technology to optimize healthcare and the treatment patients get. Stage 7, a completely paperless records atmosphere, represents the greatest EMRAM level.
In accordance to HIMSS, Lakeland Health in the year of 2013 became the 1st healthcare organization in Michigan to be certified at Stage 7 in less than 3 years from the time period their Epic EHR was first executed. This greatest EMRAM Stage 7 revalidation recognizes Lakeland’s advanced EHR and real-time analytics capabilities.
“What the HIMSS Stage 7 revalidation signifies is the technology’s utilization to maintain a high standard of sufferer safety and care,” says Robin Sarkar, Lakeland’s chief information officer, who points to the health system’s creation of a radiation safety program to restrict exposure, as well as attempts to decrease the risk of maternal hemorrhaging and decrease narcotic prescription rates.
“The journey of Lakeland Health to Stage 7 revalidation introduced various new analytic models to better serve the population of southwest Michigan,” stated Philip Bradley, North America regional director for healthcare advisory services and operations at HIMSS Analytics. “Most prominently are their protocols on radiation safety, morphine milligram equivalent and OB protocols, all delivering improved care and safety to their community.”
Since Lakeland’s initial Stage 7 certification in the year of 2013, EHR Manager Holly Schewe notes the health system has started several other new initiatives, involving barcode scanning of sufferers’ blood to ensure accurate patient matching and leveraging barcode technology to track human breast milk in the nurseries for newborns.
“We really consider that technology is one of the primary differentiators, giving actionable insights for our clinicians and providers so that they can make better the patient care,” adds Sarkar.
On hospital floors, Schewe notes that Lakeland Health uses Epic Monitor tied to the EHR for inpatient monitoring of vital signs and other measures, letting clinicians know whose information is trending high or low. “It is actually been useful to our floor staff in having that real-time conversation with each other at change of shift, looking at this big touchscreen dashboard,” she claims.
“It is an initiative in giving visual real-time information that is updated every 2 minutes on a screen—similar to what you see in an airport with the greatest flight information,” comments Sarkar. “We’ve used the similar principle by rolling out large monitors with touchscreens in nurse stations that can be used to open up patient charts, giving critical data at the point of care.”
Additionally, Sarkar asserts that the positive impact of its Epic EHR extends beyond just its hospitals and ambulatory clinics to affiliated community clinics as part of its not-for-profit mission.
“We’ve extended our EHR, mainly at our own cost, for community purposes and offering transparency of medical records,” he claims. “Epic being a slightly more costly system, it would not be possible for these clinics to themselves get on to the electronic health record (EHR). They are getting the benefits of the latest state-of-the-art technology.”
Kenneth Lomonaco, EHR manager at Lakeland Health, adds that more than thirty clinics are Community Connect practices to which “we have extended our instance of Epic to and we subsidize a lot of the cost—as much as we can legally—and they choose up the rest.”
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