Delray Beach, Fl - Dec. 2010 - Delray Medical Center is taking action to meet the health information technology challenges of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and provide a new level of healthcare quality and efficiency in South Florida. Delray Medical Center has begun implementing Phase I of its health information technology project, which will give physicians and nursing staff the real-time information they need to treat patients more quickly and accurately.
For Phase I, the Tenet-owned hospital will build an electronic medical records system that will add the functions of clinical documentation, orders management, bar coded medication administration, surgical care documentation and scheduling, improvements in laboratory and improved reporting.
The conversion from paper charts and manual processes to secure electronic health records means that healthcare providers will have immediate access to a patient’s medical history, including past visits, lab results, immunizations and medications.
Patients should benefit from less duplication in clinical testing and repeating their history from clinician to clinician. Digitizing hospital charts has also been shown to reduce medication errors through the use of computerized order entry, rules and alerts embedded in the system. Delray Medical Center expects to be fully electronic, nearly eliminating paper records, in approximately two years.
Developing a solid health information infrastructure for Delray Medical Center meets the five broad goals identified by Congress in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act legislation to improve U.S. healthcare. Specifically, these goals are: (a) improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities; (b) engage patients and families in their own healthcare; (c) improve care coordination among healthcare providers; (d) ensure adequate privacy and security protections for personal health information; and (e) improve public health. Beginning in 2014, hospitals and physicians who fail to meet “Meaningful Use” standards will be subject to a decrease in reimbursement from government healthcare programs.
Meeting the requirements of “Meaningful Use,” Delray Medical Center will have the resources needed to seamlessly exchange patient information among physicians, hospitals and other outpatient centers in the community once a Health Information Exchange has been adopted. Such technology may also give patients the opportunity to take control and of their own health history through the use of portable personal health records.
Currently, approximately 17 percent of doctors and 10 percent of hospitals nationwide are using electronic health records.