|(Pasadena, Calif.–December 12, 2005) – Using an Electronic Medical Records system didn’t satisfy Ron Johnson’s quest for increased efficiency through technology. Instead, it only whetted this OB/GYN’s appetite for more.
After using the Patient Chart Manager EMR from Prime Clinical Systems for a couple of years, Dr. Johnson, the Project Lead physician at the White Memorial OB/GYN Medical Group (WMOGMG) in Los Angeles, was not content with the added cost benefits, reduced medical errors and efficiency afforded him by the software.
He wanted more. Specifically he wanted specialty specific efficiency. Dr. Johnson and the other OB/GYN physicians at WMOGMG wanted an EMR that would:
Collate all the information related to a women’s pregnancy in one place, instead of scattered in various disparate places throughout the record.
“With the OB Smart Form, all of this data is in one place. There is no need to sort through the electronic record trying to find information related to the pregnancy,” Dr. Johnson says. Working in a large group that is additionally a residency-training program he noted that “This is especially helpful when more than one clinician has worked with the patient.”
Automatically compute the Expected Delivery Date (EDD) and Estimated Gestational Age (EGA), instead of using the inefficient and error prone traditional wheel to compute this information during each patient visit.
“When you manually compute the EDD and EGA at every visit, it presents one more opportunity for error. Having this function automated makes it nearly impossible to make a mistake,” says Dr. Johnson.
Prompt physicians to order various clinical tests, ensuring that physicians meet American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ clinical management guidelines on antepartum fetal surveillance.
When Dr. Johnson brought these requests to Prime Clinical Systems, the vendor developed the OB Smart Form, a database-enabled feature that makes it possible for physicians to quickly and efficiently access and input information while working within their EMR.
Using the form has resulted in a number of benefits for White Memorial OB/GYN physicians including:
Better access to pertinent information. With the OB Smart Form, all information related to a women’s pregnancy is in one place. Thus, the information can be handed off to the delivering OB/GYN at any time.
With paper charts, the OB/GYN typically will forward the information to the hospital or actually give the relevant information to the patient around the 36th week of the pregnancy to be carried with her.
“The problem with this is that the information changes and is not up to date,” Dr. Johnson says. “Plus, the patients who are having problems are the ones who are likely to deliver early. So, the information that would be most crucial in an emergency situation typically is the most difficult information to get.”
With the OB Smart Form, however, the OB/GYN on call has immediate access to the entire history of the pregnancy at the touch of a button, making it possible to better handle any unexpected or emergency situations, Dr. Johnson says.
In addition, the information is available remotely, enabling clinicians to offer consultation even if they are not in the hospital.
“Our perinatologist frequently reviews the patient’s electronic charts from a home computer and then simply offers advice over the phone,” Dr. Johnson says. “Without this technology, in many cases we might have to proceed without this needed expertise.”
Reduced potential for error. The OB Smart Form automatically updates the EDD, calculates weight gain or loss and automatically reminds physicians when certain clinical tests are required. As such, physicians are not as likely to make errors.
Time savings. With the OB Smart Form, a patient’s medical history, including past pregnancy information from previous pregnancies managed through the EMR, is instantly displayed. With a paper record, physicians are required to manually rewrite the pregnancy history and record allergies and medications, an especially cumbersome task when patients are being seen for their second, third or fourth pregnancy. The patients’ demographics are automatically populated into the form by the system saving valuable interview time for each new pregnancy.
The OB Smart Form saves about ten minutes per new patient visit and 3-5 minutes for each return, Dr. Johnson estimates.
“The benefits gleamed from an EMR are substantial. It just makes everything so much more efficient. But with the OB Smart Form, it’s like we have an EMR that is custom built to meet our specialty specific needs. It’s the difference between buying a suit off the rack and having one tailor made,” Dr. Johnson says.
In summary, while the clinicians at White Memorial Hospital were initially impressed with the clinical and financial benefits from the EMR, they were even more amazed that their technology vendor went the extra step and added functionality that specifically met the needs of their specialty. These extra benefits have surpassed all expectations.
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