The Madison Valley Medical Center has completed the installation of electronic health record software becoming one of the only facilities of their kind in the state to make the leap.
The software installation was completed in September and accomplishes one of the challenges laid out in the 2009 Health Care Reform Bill.
As medical center CEO Loren Jacobson explains, there are multiple benefits to centralizing all available information about a patient’s medical care.
“It’s a pretty big deal for us and for the community,” Jacobson said. “We can be sending a record of their care to the receiving facility so it gets there before the patient does.”
The MVMC meets criteria set out by the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records Incentive Program. The program rewards health care institutions for maximizing the efficiency and availability of electronic health records. Incentives are based upon implementation of new technology.
At the time of certification the MVMC was only the second trauma receiving facility in the state to meet the criteria behind Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital in Hamilton.
One of the biggest advantages offered by implementation of electronic health records is the ability to compile data on a specific demographic to monitor specific disease states that lead to chronic illness later on down the road. For example, electronic health records can help to better identify people who may be at risk for diabetes or high blood pressure, Jacobson said.
Meeting the federally mandated criteria is not always easy and because of the nature of keeping up with a constantly changing industry. Medical technology is updated all the time and software companies compete against one another to fine-tune their product. It’s a daunting task that can be difficult for institutions like MVMC.
“It’s a learning opportunity, which on some days is challenging,” Jacobson said. “The purpose is to get structured data for all health care events so as a country we can understand what’s happening with illness and hopefully improve the treatment of it.”
Some of the data compiled through meaningful use of electronic health records help the institution keep statistics on allergies, medications and discharge instructions.
Jacobson emphasized that much of the credit for achieving meaningful use goes to the different department heads throughout the MVMC, including Chief of Staff Dr. R.D. Marks, Nursing Director Janine Clavadetcher, Information Technology Director Bo Nix, Clinical Lab Director Melinda Tichenor and Imaging Director Bev Bishop.
“I’m really very impressed and proud of the staff in terms of how they implemented this meaningful use within a timeline that was short, concise and effective,” Jacobsen said. “That’s really a tribute to the quality of people that are here.”