Nazareth Hospital Launches Electronic Health Records to Optimize Patient Care and Safety
Northeast Philadelphia, PA -Today, Nazareth Hospital was the first of the Mercy Health System hospitals and one of the first within Catholic Health East to go live with CareLink – an ambitious, multimillion dollar project designed to enhance patient care and safety by bringing together many elements of care into a comprehensive electronic health record.
"Electronic health records are the future, and at Nazareth Hospital, the future is now," states Nazareth Hospital's Associate Chief Medical Officer James F. Blute III, MD, FACOG. "The CareLink EHR project places us in the forefront of local hospitals in meeting Medicare technology requirements. For physicians and nurses – and especially for patients -- the electronic health record provides an invaluable tool for enhancing patient safety and quality of care."
For nearly two years, doctors, nurses, other clinical staff members and information technology experts throughout Mercy Health System have collaborated to make electronic health records a reality.
"Our EHR launch is the result of massive effort and collaboration; the team has worked tirelessly to ensure a smooth transition," says Christina Fitz-Patrick, CEO, Nazareth Hospital.
Electronic Health Records bring together in one place the information in a patient's medical chart, such as medical history, medication, allergies, lab and medical imaging results, advanced directives, living will and powers of attorney. The EHR also brings together in one place the results of each healthcare encounter, creating a fluid, consistent history of care over time for each patient. This information is accessible electronically for a patient's healthcare providers, so that:
- Records of patients' medications and allergies will follow them through their healthcare journey
- Other than routine tests, patients won't have to get the same test twice because the results will be in their EHRs
- Patients' medical histories will be easy to get to in an emergency when treated by a Mercy Health System provider. Prescriptions can be sent electronically to patients' pharmacies
Nazareth Hospital's CareLink project also gives healthcare providers access to common order sets, electronic prescribing, and other tools that help ensure patient safety.
Starting in 2015, hospitals and doctors will be subject to financial penalties under Medicare rules if they are not using electronic health records.