New Electronic Health Record System Live at Strong Memorial

Leap from paper to screen a boon for safety, patient-centeredness, care consistency

March 30, 2011

Earlier this month, Strong Memorial Hospital launched “eRecord” – an electronic health record (EHR) system expected to dramatically integrate care delivery within and across URMC hospitals and ambulatory clinics. The eRecord platform will go live at Highland Hospital this June, as well as all URMC outpatient services by summer 2012.

“Launching eRecord represents so much more than replacing the paper chart with an electronic one,” said URMC CEO Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D.  “eRecord is the centerpiece of our strategic plan to improve quality and safety, our number one clinical priority. It will create a new approach to how we work, transforming the way we provide care so that it is safer, better quality, and more patient- and family-centered.”

The eRecord platform puts all providers on the same screen while caring for a patient – aggregating important allergy information, medication lists, test results, physician notes and more.

“By coalescing data into a single system, eRecord ensures that all critical information pertaining to any given patient is at the fingertips of his entire care team,” said Steven I. Goldstein, president and CEO of Strong Memorial Hospital and Highland Hospital. “Replacing separate information systems, eRecord will improve care coordination and consistency across units, support services and hospitals.”

The initial rollout of the system will be to inpatient units, the Emergency Department, OBGYN, pharmacy, and outpatient oncology at Strong, Highland and three other off-site oncology clinics. Areas such as cardiology, transplant, peri-operative services, anesthesia, and radiology are targeted to be converted to eRecord in the next three to five years.

In addition, eRecord will be compatible with Rochester’s RHIO (Regional Health Information Organization) initiative to digitize medical records and share critical health information community-wide. Community physicians who refer to Strong Memorial or Highland hospitals will also be able to access eRecord to learn important details about their patients’ hospital stays.

Improving patient safety

Designed and built with the help of Wisconsin-based Epic Systems – the same vendor behind EHR systems at number of top academic medical centers, like the Cleveland Clinic, NYU, Mount Sinai – eRecord represents an investment of $78 million (for the inpatient and outpatient components combined) and a massive outlay of manpower resources to train more that 8,000 clinical staff to be fluent in the technology. 

“Considered the cornerstone of our Medical Center’s strategic plan to improve safety and quality, eRecord unifies and coordinates care delivery by creating a single patient-centric electronic health record that serves our entire network,” said surgeon David Krusch, M.D., Chief Medical Information Officer at URMC.

What’s most important is the gains eRecord promises for patient care safety – and perhaps the most dramatic example of the eRecord’s safety advantages is its bar-coded medication administration technology, which allows nurses to use handheld scanners (like those used check-out lanes) to verify that the right patient receives the right dose of the right medicine at the right time.

Studies have shown that between 26 to 38 percent of all medication errors happen at the point that the medicine is administered.

"eRecord will close the gap, allowing clinicians to use a bedside scanner to double-check information on the patient wristband, medication packet, or Smart Pump, with the data stored in our computerized order-entry system,” Krusch said.

Empowering patients

Later this year, URMC is also launching a secure online patient portal that will allow its oncology patients to view portions of their URMC electronic medical record. Called MyChart, this “personal health record” dovetails neatly with eRecord, allowing cancer patients to view their health summary, current medications, test results, and upcoming and past appointments.

According to Epic, which also created the MyChart technology, the self-serve functions included in this personal health website encourage patients to take more active roles in their own care, ultimately reducing costs and increasing satisfaction.

In 2012, URMC plans to offer MyChart to all of its outpatients.

To learn more about URMC’s eRecord platform, visit http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/patient-care/erecord

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Becky Jones
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