Rochester General Hospital is first hospital in the Greater Rochester area to go “paperless” in its emergency department. The hospital began using its electronic medical records system in the ED August 7th, doing away with most of its paper forms and dry-erase boards commonly seen during a visit to the ED.
“It's the source of far more admissions than any other place in the hospital,” says Dr. John Schriver, chief of RGH’s emergency services.
Rochester General is currently in the process of expanding its entire emergency department in order to accommodate the approximately 90,000 patient visits it receives each year. The electronic medical records system cost $1.5 million.
“We are changing everything about our emergency department,” says Schriver, ”it's here that we see the hospital's sickest patients when they're at their sickest usually.
The new system not only makes a visit to the emergency room easier and faster for the patient, it improves communication with all levels of staff. Primarily, the new system makes instructions more readable.
“You're not dealing with the individual handwriting of scores of individuals, doctors and nurses,” says Schriver.
Another advantage of the system is if a patient should have an allergy or an interaction to a medication they are being prescribed in the ED, the computer lets the doctor or attending staff know immediately. “You'll get a cue that that interaction is possible and it'll ask you to justify using the drug or to change it,” says Schriver.
A physician can call ahead to the hospital when sending a patient. The system will automatically enter the patients medical records into the computer; the process eliminates lines and admission forms for the patients to fill out. The computer also serves in a similar capacity for EMTs.
“That system can indicate go right to the bed that we've assigned you, we'll get the information and triage information from you there,” says Schriver.
Newark-Wayne Community Hospital, an affiliate of Rochester General Hospital, is also now part of the new electronic medical records system in its emergency department.