A survey of more than 5,000 hospitals has placed Baystate Medical Center in the top 1% nationally for adoption of electronic medical records (EMR), recognizing the Springfield teaching hospital’s embrace of new technologies in the interest of higher-quality, safer and more efficient care.
Baystate Medical Center is one of only two hospitals in Massachusetts to be designated a Stage 6 adopter of electronic medical records by HIMSS Analytics, the data-mining and analysis subsidiary of the industry’s trade group for information technology and management systems. Only 32 hospitals in the nation have achieved this level of EMR adoption; Baystate is one of only four in New England, and the only hospital in western Massachusetts, to do so.
“Reaching this level of EMR adoption has taken considerable hard work and outstanding collaborations—between senior leaders, doctors, nurses, IT workers and others--throughout our health system,” said Mark B. Gorrell, vice president of Information Services and chief information officer for Baystate Health, the hospital’s parent organization. “We are pleased to be recognized for how far we’ve come, particularly in light of the broad recognition of EMR as an important step forward in health-care reform nationally.”
Through the significant investments and efforts it made to achieve Stage 6 EMR adoption, Baystate Medical Center leads the nation, at a time when many other hospitals are just beginning to embrace this technology. President Obama has identified EMR as a crucial tool for improving and streamlining patient care, and the economic stimulus package passed in Washington in February includes more than $17 billion in funds to support EMR adoption.
Electronic medical records allow patient information to be securely maintained in electronic form, rather than on paper, and thus more accessible to the doctors or other care providers who need it. EMR helps patients receive higher-quality and safer care because it ensures that crucial health information–a medication allergy, for example, or drug interaction information—is readily available to each care provider working with a patient. It also institutes automatic safeguards against rare but dangerous and costly medical errors.
“EMR is about much more than computers: It’s the interaction of skilled caregivers and finely-tuned technology for the best possible health outcomes for all our patients,” said Joan Sullivan, vice president of Clinical Informatics and Re-engineering for Baystate Health. “Now, more than ever, our work in health care must be defined by quality and efficiency.”
According to HIMSS Analytics, “Stage 6 hospitals are positioned to electronically capture and share data that will be necessary to meet the quality challenges facing the U.S. healthcare system.” The group says Stage 6 hospitals like Baystate are almost fully paperless, have made significant investments to reach this stage, and “appear to have a significant advantage over competitors for patient safety, clinician support, clinician recruitment” and other areas.
“HIMSS Analytics congratulates Baystate Medical Centerfor leading the way towards healthcare IT adoption,” said Mike Davis, executive vice president, HIMSS Analytics. “Stage 6 represents a level of sophistication that only 32 US hospitals have reached to date.”
The community hospitals in the Baystate Health network, Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield and Baystate Mary Lane Hospital in Ware, are not far behind Baystate Medical Center in EMR adoption: Both are in the top 2% of hospitals in the country. Once Baystate Franklin and Baystate Mary Lane join Baystate Medical Center in adopting bar-coding technology that puts patient identification and information in a bedside-scannable wristband, they are expected to also be named Level 6 adopters.