Computers are everywhere, and hospitals and doctor’s offices are becoming more and more computerized, which is a good thing for patients. At Baystate Health, we use computers to provide you with safer, higher quality, and more efficient healthcare. How are we doing this? One way we do this is by using an electronic medical record.
What is an Electronic Medical Record? An electronic medical record (EMR), sometimes called the electronic health record (EHR), is a computerized version of the traditional paper chart that allows a patient’s health information to be easily accessed throughout Baystate Health by all healthcare providers. By replacing the typical paper chart with an electronic version, your healthcare providers are better able to access your medical history, including test results and reports, and share your information with other healthcare providers at the touch of a button or click of the mouse.
Since 1988, Baystate Health has been a national leader in the developing and using health information technology and the electronic medical record. Today, Baystate Health uses an advanced EMR, called the Clinical Information System, or CIS. By using CIS, our entire clinical staff can look at and update patient information, and enter orders for medications, laboratory tests, and radiology/imaging into the patient’s EMR. This integrated electronic record makes it easier to access all important health information about the patient, speeds the delivery of quality care in urgent situations, and decreases medical errors.
In 2010, the government published a document that outlines rules that are needed to make sure that hospitals and other healthcare providers use the electronic health record the right way and the best way. The document is known as “Meaningful Use.” Baystate’s three hospitals are among the first in Massachusetts to demonstrate “Meaningful Use” of the EMR.
HIMSS Analytics Recognition
Hospitals are graded on where they stand with using an EMR. These grades are called “Stages,” and they range from 0 to 7. “0” means that they do not have an electronic medical record in place, and “7” means that their medical record is fully electronic. In 2009, BMC was recognized as a Stage 6 hospital in the adoption of the EMR by HIMSS Analytics. BMC was one of only four hospitals in New England, and the only one in western Massachusetts, to be designated a Stage 6 hospital.
Hospitals and Health Networks Most Wired Hospitals
In 2011, Baystate Health was recognized as a "Most Wired Hospital" by the American Medical Association for leading the way in automating and integrating clinical, patient safety, and administrative functions to improve the quality of care given to patients.
Baystate Health also received an award for “Most Wireless” in 2005 and 2008. Being the “Most Wireless” means that Baystate Health uses wireless technology to support the work of our doctors, nurses and staff and to improve our patients’ experience. Baystate was the first hospital in the region to offer patients and visitors free wireless Internet service throughout its facilities since 2005, and continues to expand wireless coverage into more areas.
Baystate’s electronic medical record, CIS, will become more widely used in all of Baystate Health, including Baystate Medical Practices and clinics. In the fall of 2013, a new patient portal will be launched, providing patients with access to their key health information from the privacy of their home. We are also piloting a health-information exchange that will allow community and referring doctors to look at their patients’ electronic medical record in their own office so that they can monitor their patients’ progress.
For more information on Baystate Information Services/Technology
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For more information on Meaningful Use of the Electronic Medical Record