Parkland Moves to Paperless Patient Records
by Joan Trombetti
, Writer | June 22, 2009
Parkland has the most extensive
access to electronic
inpatient medical records in the
medical district and patient
information is available at the
stroke of a key from anywhere
in the hospital
A wireless, electronic medical record system that went live at Parkland Health & Hospital System makes the hospital one of the first integrated health systems in North Texas to move to the technology. Charting and documentation that was once done on paper has now been transferred to a computer-based system, and nurses and other health providers use mobile computer workstations at bedsides to document medical histories, physician orders, vital signs, etc.
Jack Kowitt, Parkland's chief information officer said that Parkland now has the most extensive access to electronic inpatient medical records in the medical district and patient information is available at the stroke of a key from anywhere in the hospital. This allows staff to be more efficient, allowing them to focus on patients and patient care. It also helps to ensure accuracy.
Testing that went on for the last six months by IT specialists and medical personnel is now complete and included training almost 6,500 nurses and other providers.
In order to complete the process, because of the age of the hospital, new hardware and infrastructure has to be installed. This included more than 1,200 workstations, 300 printers and more than 800 wireless antennae.
Through research carried out by a Parkland physician a connection between investments in IT and quality of patient care was seen, and the lead researcher, Dr. Ruben Amarashingam, associate chief of medicine services at Parkland found that Texas hospitals with electronic records, automated systems and other technologies had fewer complications, lower costs and lower mortality rates. The study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
With the launch of the inpatient and pharmacy systems a $45 million, three-year program to place electronic medical records throughout the entire Parkland system, including the main hospital campus and 31 off-site clinics will be ongoing throughout the year, and by the end of the summer, EMRs will be active at at Parkland's 11 school-based clinics.
Fully 120 specialty clinics will go live throughout the next year. Last year, Parkland's Emergency Room implemented a similar system specifically for emergency care.
For more information see www.parklandhospital.com/.