Wrist Bands, Registration Changes At PACH Prepare For Electronic Health Record
The staff at Palo Alto County Hospital is busy preparing for an electronic health record, a new process that will enhance services for patients. In the fall of 2008, all the patient’s hospital medical records will be computerized. The efficiency, quality, and safety features of this for the patient are numerous. Patients will be safer because medication and other physician orders entered electronically will not be subject to handwriting misinterpretations. Adverse drug alerts will “pop-up” on the computer screen if a patient has a drug allergy or a drug adversely interacts with another medicine. Diagnostic test results will be available to the physician as soon as they are available without the time needed to deliver a paper copy to the chart. Patient charts will be transferred to referring specialists with the click of a computer key. Additionally, patients can feel assured their private medical information will also be safer because computers users can be audited to ensure patient files are viewed appropriately.
To prepare for this process, patients will see a few changes at registration.
Patients receiving outpatient services such as radiology and lab will have a wristband placed on their wrist at registration. This band can be used to electronically identify patients so their diagnostic results and physician notes can be put directly into their medical record. This will serve as a safety feature, making sure that the correct report gets into the correct persons file. It also improves the efficiency for records that need to be forwarded to the patient’s doctor or specialist. An additional band may be placed on some patients identifying drug allergies.
The electronic health record will make it easier and more efficient to transfer files to other Mercy facilities when patients are seeing specialist at another facility. Therefore it is vitally important that patients use their legal name when registering for services. This will ensure that records follow the patient as they use the our health system and others.
“The patient will benefit from the electronic health record”, commented Coleen Ruddy, Director of Patient Services. “We want to make everyone aware of the need to register with their legal name instead of nicknames or middle names. This will ensure your medical records can be viewed where you have services provided. Also, we want to familiarize our patients with the new wristband process. Although patients are familiar with wristbands as an inpatient, this will be new to those receiving outpatient services. These changes are steps we will implement in preparation of the upcoming electronic health record.”