DEARBORN — One year after its first hospital went live with an electronic Medical Records (EMR) system, Oakwood Healthcare Inc. has joined an elite group of healthcare systems across the country with the successful EMR implementation at all four of its acute care hospitals.
The four Oakwood hospitals are among the only 10 percent of hospitals across the country to earn Stage 6 recognition from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Analytics for its investment in and commitment to the adoption of an EMR system. Of the 5,400 U.S. hospitals tracked by HIMSS Analytics, only 533 have earned this distinction.
“This has been one of our main organizational priorities for more than two years,” said Brian Connolly, Oakwood president and CEO. “We set a very ambitious 25-month timetable that we met, thanks to the dedication of the project core team, the Oakwood staff and our physicians. It’s through their efforts that we are able to lead the way with this emergent technology and improve the quality and safety of patient care.”
Called “OakCare,” the EMR system is powered by Epic, the largest provider of electronic medical records in the country. Oakwood began the transition in August 2012, when the system went live at the Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center in Dearborn. Since then, the system was also implemented at Oakwood Heritage Hospital in Taylor, Oakwood Southshore Medical Center in Trenton and Oakwood Annapolis Hospital in Wayne.
“All health systems will need to adopt this technology, but we wanted to provide it to our patients as soon as possible because of the many benefits it provides them,” Connolly said. “We did it because it was the right thing to do, not simply because we had to do it.”
OakCare will improve the quality and value of care Oakwood patients receive in a number of ways, including:
• Reducing the time physicians spend on paperwork, allowing them to spend more quality time with patients.
• Reducing the potential for redundant testing by tracking tests patients receive throughout the system.
• Ensuring patients receive the proper medication at the proper time through use of barcodes and scanners that correlate prescriptions and patients.
• Reducing translation errors in prescriptions because those directions will be typed, not hand-written.
• Providing patients with more information at discharge, which will allow for better follow-up care and reduced readmissions to the hospital.
• Improved safety and security because EMRs will only be accessible by members of the patient’s care team.
Physicians acknowledge that OakCare is making their work more accurate and efficient, benefiting their patients.
“Notes are easier to read and I no longer have to decipher other doctors’ handwriting,” Oakwood-affiliated oncologist Dr. Mohammed Ogaily said. “I can access notes and orders from anywhere on any computer. It is an indispensible part of patient care.”
“To serve our patients well, we need to provide the highest quality, most efficient care possible,” said Paula Smith, Oakwood’s chief information officer. “Taking a ‘big bang’ approach to bring all four hospitals on board in less than a year was a major step for Oakwood.
“Our team of physician leaders, trainers and staff experts made this possible. It is because of their success that we are able to bring this level of quality care and value to our hospitalized patients, no matter where they go at Oakwood for care.”