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Memorial Health System Nears Completion of Massive Switch to Paperless System
Posted on: 09/04/2013
By  Mike Cullums

Washington County's primary health care providers at the Memorial Health System have been engaged in a massive transfer of patient data to a modern, paperless record system.
Memorial spokeswoman Jennifer Offenberger explains...  
“Memorial has joined many other health systems…in implementing what’s called an ‘electronic health record.’ That’s a computerized record at a central location for all of your health information - your tests, medications, surgical results, anything that’s connected to your health care is in this record. The information is entered when you get care within our health system, whether at your doctor’s office or here at the hospital. It’s the one true source of information.”
Offenberger says such a massive undertaking has not been easy or cheap...  
“The hurdles we’ve had are not unlike other systems we’ve talked with. One is the cost. The federal government has mandated that all hospitals have an electronic health record by 2015. That’s a large financial investment. The second (hurdle) is that anytime you transition to a new system it takes time. Once, though, this is all done, it will be so seamless for our patients and our caregivers. There are a lot of benefits.”  
Federal law requires medical records to be converted from paper to digital format by 2015.
After a lot of hard work by a lot of health system employees, Offenberger says the project is 95 percent complete, with offices and facilities all using it within two months or less.
Offenberger says the new system will provide real improvements in patient safety and convenience...
“One is safety, with instructions, orders and results being typed in – not handwritten. Medication interactions and allergies will be noted. It’s all much easier than reading someone’s writing. There’s just less room for error.
“Coordination of care will be great because many (health care) professionals will now have immediate access to all of your information in the same location. And the same with emergency care. Your records are going to reflect everything that they need to know, no matter where you need to be treated.”
The digitized health records will be shielded by strong security measures.
Interview conducted by Jamey Styer
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