Cynthia Persily, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dr. Persily is the CEO of Highland Hospital in Charleston, WV
This week has been National Health Information Technology Week. How fitting to end this week with finalizing our plans to “go live” with our electronic medical record next Wednesday! This has been a long awaited leap forward for us at Highland Hospital, and some may say we are behind the times, but quite frankly, we only want to make this investment once and so the time we’ve taken to get it right will hopefully pay off for us. Years of planning, building, upgrading, and yes, some frustration and maybe even some tears will all be tested this week, and we are ready!
Why are electronic medical records so important today? There are many advantages to the patient, as well as to the hospital. For the patient, we can improve diagnosis and treatment, significantly reduce errors found within personal health records, and provide care faster when we have information at our fingertips. For Highland Hospital, there are numerous other advantages of implementing electronic medical records including the ability to quickly transfer patient data from one department to another, the space saving benefits of a digital environment instead of all of the paper that we must currently store, improved patient care with a reduction in errors, and reduced operational costs. Most importantly, we will be able to follow trends with our patient outcomes and care in real time, allowing us to improve our care and our processes in a much more nimble way.
This change hasn’t been, and will not be easy. We will not kid ourselves. But, we’ve prepared well, we have good, dedicated people at the helm, and we also know that our employees are “all in”. With some patience, a “can do” attitude, and a little bit of luck, we’ll make this transition quickly and by this time next year, we’ll be looking back saying “What was all the fuss about?” We will keep you up to date on our progress. And, if on Wednesday you happen to find a four leaf clover, throw it over our way!