Electronic Medical Records for McLeod Health

I went through Medical Records in Florence today to see again first- hand how the team is converting our paper records.  Cynthia Williams, Assistant Director of Medical Records, walked me through each step along the process and updated me on the current status of the project.  Medical Records is busy training, prepping, scanning, and performing ‘QC’ (quality control) during the conversion of medical records from paper copies to an imaged, electronic medical record.  As the project in Florence stabilizes, we will be converting records in at McLeod Darlington and McLeod Dillon in the same manner.

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Kathleen Mitchell, a prepper/scanner clerk for Medical Records, scans a patient's medical record using a high-speed scanner.

McLeod Health is part of a national initiative to provide patients with components of an electronic personal health record, reducing healthcare costs and securing protected health information that is passed in health information exchanges.  For many years, the results for the following clinical departments have already been available online during the admission and stay of the patient: laboratory, anatomical pathology, radiology, PACs radiology images, respiratory therapy, echocardiology, nuclear cardiology, vascular lab, neurodiagnostics, sleep studies, and pulmonary function studies. A patient’s record will remain on paper while the patient is hospitalized but is converted to a digital image within five days of discharge.  While new procedures and change is always difficult, we expect to see many advantages with this project.

Internal Advantages:

1.  Reduce time in rendering care to patient by not waiting for a paper chart to be retrieved.
2.  Increase accuracy of prognoses and plans of care.
3.  Increase privacy of patient information by decreasing inappropriate disclosures.
4.  Increase services reimbursement with electronic transmissions of claims and remittances.
5.  Reduced costs related to paper records management.
6.  Assist in the efficiency, effectiveness, and efficacy of the care given by clinicians.

External Advantages:

1.  Electronic exchange of patient information between clinicians and practitioners.
2.  Reduce cost of providing healthcare.
3.  Interoperability with other EMRs of other healthcare providers for seamless sharing of patient information during treatment.
4.  Increase in the overall quality of healthcare.

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Dr. Stephen Dersch with West Florence Family Medicine reviews an online medical record.

As of August 26, more than half of the physicians at McLeod Regional Medical Center have been trained and will soon be successfully using the EMR system.  The Medical Records Department went ‘live’ on the new process on August 1st and is now in week four of the conversion.  I want to thank Mavis Turner, Director of Medical Records, and Shari Donley, Information Systems Director of Operations, for their efforts this past year as they have planned and directed the conversion from paper.  Many people are involved in the work and the planning has helped to make this process go as smooth as possible.

Thanks,
Rob

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