Tuality Acknowledges First Full Year of Electronic Medical Record Use

August 19, 2009

For immediate release
Contact:  Gerry Ewing / 503-681-1654

Tuality Healthcare recently acknowledged a significant milestone, celebrating its first full year of using an organization-wide, computer-based electronic medical record (EMR) system.

When the system went live in July 2008, the hospital-based healthcare organization replaced paper charts and forms with software and computer screens for a number of core clinical and non-clinical functions.

The system gives doctors, nurses and other authorized staff secure and immediate access to patient information, whether it is needed at the bedside, at a nursing desk, in a surgical suite or in an accounting office.

“The EMR has already provided some important benefits for our patients and the organization after just one year of operation,” said Manny Berman, administrator & chief operating officer, Tuality Healthcare.

For instance, by reducing the use of handwriting and adding automated “prompts” for performing certain functions, the system has strengthened patient safety.

It has increased convenience for patients as medical histories, insurance information and other details are provided just once during admission at a Tuality location.

The EMR system also has helped to improve the quality of patient interactions with doctors, nurses and other clinical staff since less time is required to fill out paperwork.

For Tuality, EMR implementation represented a fundamental change in the way many physicians and employees go about their daily tasks.  After a year of experience, it is clear they have met the challenge well.

Statistics from Cerner Corporation, Tuality’s EMR partner organization, show that 95 percent of all system transactions currently take less than two seconds, a clear indicator that staff have grown more adept at using functions and accessing necessary information.

Staff also are finding ways to change and improve certain functions to benefit patient care and organizational efficiencies.  “In the beginning, change requests mostly came from department managers or directors,” said Sonney Sapra, director, Clinical Information Systems, Tuality Healthcare.  “Now, nearly all changes come from frontline users, which is very exciting. People are much more confident now and have taken ownership in the system.”

By the time it was launched last year, Tuality’s EMR system had required several years of planning and training, along with significant upgrades to and installations of computers and other hardware devices throughout the organization.

With the current federal-government emphasis on promoting healthcare information technology, Tuality’s comprehensive approach to adopting EMR put it in a strong position to take advantage of federal stimulus funding for future expansions and upgrades.

In addition, over the next six to 10 years, hospitals and other healthcare providers may see reductions in federal Medicare reimbursement dollars if they have not implemented the technology in accordance with specified guidelines.

“Adopting this technology is a move all healthcare organizations need to make,” said Berman.  “Thanks to some foresight and a lot of hard work by our employees and medical staff, Tuality Healthcare is well ahead of the curve.”