Health care systems upgrade with electronic record systems

Last updated on April 8th, 2022 at 05:14 am

Health-care systems upgrade with electronic record systems

By Steve Jagler, SBT Executive Editor

Two of Milwaukee’s large health care systems are contracting to create integrated electronic medical record or EMR systems to reduce errors and eliminate handwritten records by physicians.

Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital, Community Memorial Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin have entered into a joint multimillion-dollar contract with Epic Systems Corp., Madison.

Advanced Healthcare, southeastern Wisconsin’s largest physician-owned multi-specialty group, recently became the first health care system in the market to complete the implementation of its integrated electronic medical record system with Epic, according to Scott Novogoratz, vice president of information systems for Advanced Healthcare.

The Epic software enables each of the health care systems to integrate medical records, clinic scheduling and information storage and retrieval.

With the new system, physicians who refer their patients to Wauwatosa-based Froedtert, the Medical College or Menomonee Falls-based Community Memorial will eventually be able to track the progress of their patient’s treatment from their offices.

The new system will be deployed over several years, Froedtert spokesman Mark McLaughlin said.

According to Froedtert officials, the new system will:

— Increase access by physicians to shared clinical information,

— Create a single registration and scheduling system for Froedtert & Medical College clinics,

— Provide simpler, more efficient interaction between patients and staff.

— Improve communications between clinical staff,

— Assure security and privacy,

— Reduce the possibility of errors,

— And interface with a digital, diagnostic imaging storage and retrieval system.

“Epic is a system-wide initiative to facilitate timely communication among the hospitals, the physicians and patients,” said Dr. Robert Fisher, vice president of medical affairs at Community Memorial.

Rod Dykehouse, vice president of information systems and chief information officer of Froedtert Health Systems, said the new system will help the hospitals and the Medical College address concerns raised in a recent report from the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Quality of Healthcare in America. The report emphasized the need for health care providers to upgrade their information technologies and eliminate handwritten clinical information by the year 2010.

The Epic system includes new equipment that is linked by the company’s software.

The system further modernizes the delivery of health care, according to officials at Milwaukee-based Advanced Healthcare.

“All 250 of our physicians have been trained and use it regularly,” said Advanced Healthcare spokeswoman Tammee Wallace.

“As a physician, what excited me the most about this is the opporunity it gives me to provide better care for my patients,” said Dr. Marc Olsen, a family practice physician at Advanced Healthcare. “The chart is always available. I have instant access to test results, and I have secure access to the information from home or in the emergency room.”

“The opportunity to reduce medical errors, reduce duplicate testing, improve the quality of care and thereby reduce health care costs should be of interest to employers and other purchasers of care,” said Dr. Gene Monroe, president of Advanced Healthcare.

Epic is a growing company. The Madison-based software company recently announced it would add several hundred new jobs after signing a multimillion-dollar electronic records contract with Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest nonprofit health maintenance organization.

Feb. 21, 2003 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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