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Kaleida Health flips switch on new, $125 million integrated electronic medical record

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Wed, Feb 27th 2019 05:45 pm

Kaleida Health’s multi-year, $125 million project to upgrade and expand its electronic medical record (EMR) achieved a major milestone this week with the successful launch of the first two new components of the system, nursing and provider documentation.

“We will accurately collect data once, store it with minimal redundancy, and ensure widespread access to caregivers in full compliance with privacy and security regulations,” said David Hughes, M.D., chief medical officer for Kaleida Health.

When complete, the modernization project will result in a single patient record throughout the region’s health care system. For the first time, a patient’s entire health history ─ from doctors’ visits to hospital stays to laboratory results to medical imaging ─ will be recorded in a single, consistent digital format that treatment providers at any location can easily access and update.

“Our goal is to enhance the patient experience and quality of care we deliver,” Hughes said. “Providers will be spending much less time in front of a screen so they can spend more time face-to-face with their patients.”

Providers will have an instant, detailed, up-to-date record of a patient’s clinical history, while patients are spared from repeating the same information at each new provider visit. The patient’s complete medical record will, in effect, travel with that patient wherever he or she goes for treatment. Thanks to Kaleida Health’s participation in statewide and nationwide consortiums, that information will even be available to providers in other states, with the patient’s prior consent.

The clinician’s ability to diagnose problems and determine treatment strategies will also be greatly enhanced by the quality and quantity of data that will be at their disposal. Kaleida Health is partnering with Cerner Corp. to engineer the enhancement and expansion of its existing EMR. Cerner is a global leader in health care technology, with 40 years of experience, and contracts at nearly 27,500 facilities worldwide.

The first two elements of the system to “go live” at the end of February were upgrades to the way physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and nurses enter and store patient data in the EMR.

More than 400 providers attended mandatory training sessions to learn how to take full advantage of all the new features. Future improvements will touch almost every aspect of the patient experience, from blood transfusions to rapid response management to transportation within and between facilities, and even staff scheduling will be optimized.

Kaleida Health is in the second year of the implementation process.

“This is a patient-centered, clinically driven project to improve health outcomes for the communities we serve,” Hughes said. “Representatives of all medical specialties and nursing worked with experts from Cerner to set priorities and design the improvements our clinicians wanted before any changes were made to the system.”

That phase of the project is now complete and the changes providers requested are going live.

At the same time, administrators from Great Lakes Health System of Western New York – the planning entity comprised of Kaleida Health, the University at Buffalo, ECMC and The Center for Hospice and Palliative Care – in collaboration with Cerner consultants, are going through the same planning and design process with Great Lakes Health’s physician and ambulatory partners, who are all currently using different EMRs at their practices.

“Once they are fully transitioned to the Cerner EMR, our vision of a comprehensive, best-in-class, clinically led, patient-focused, fully integrated electronic medical record will be a reality,” Hughes said.

The first cohort of Great Lakes Health (GLH) partners who are switching to the updated Cerner EMR consists of ECMC ambulatory sites, General Physician PC and UBMD Physicians’ Group. All told, about 800 physicians will be added to the Great Lakes Health EMR network as part of the first cohort.

In addition, the EMR project is also helping to train future physicians at the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. This means current and future medical students will have the opportunity to train on the same EMR they will use across GLH.

“We’re providing students in UB’s medical school with their EMR while in training. That’s another huge benefit for the community,” Hughes said.

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