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BMC A Leader in Electronic Medical Record
BMC Among National Leaders in Comprehensive Electronic Medical Record Implementation

Berkshire Medical Center is one of only 10 hospitals in Massachusetts and among a select small percentage nationally to have an electronic system in place that can significantly improve patient care and safety. This comprehensive electronic medical record (EMR) with computerized provider order entry (CPOE) represent major investments by Berkshire Health Systems in its ongoing efforts to insure the best care possible for our patients.

CPOE, a tool for physicians and nurses to enter medical orders electronically, helps to streamline patient care and improve patient safety, significantly reducing medical errors. Through the CPOE system, when a physician or nurse enters an order, the order is automatically checked against the patient’s record for allergies, drug-to-drug interactions, formulary support and related clinical data.

Not only does this system reduce the potential for errors, but it also minimizes duplicate testing because the record shows what orders already exist for the patient. With historical patient information at the provider’s fingertips and improved order clarity, the need for extra confirmatory phone calls is reduced since information needed by the provider to complete an order is known at the time of ordering.

CPOE also improves the prescription order process. Instead of written or faxed orders, the physician electronically sends an order to the pharmacy, minimizing the potential for error due to hard-to-read handwriting or misunderstood dictation.

“CPOE reduces the risk of a bad information exchange,” said Dr. Michael Blackman, BMC's Chief Medical Information Officer. “Anytime there is a hand-off, there is a risk for lack of communication, miscommunication or error. So anytime we have the system decrease the number of hand-offs, we are better off.”

CPOE is one step in the process that Berkshire Health Systems is taking to implement a complete EMR in advance of state and federal regulations that may require hospitals to adopt such technology within the next 4-5 years.

Over the past five years, BHS has invested approximately $15 million on creating and implementing the EMR system, or eCare. This included the introduction of MEDITECH, PACS (the Picture Archival Communications System used for Radiology), online nursing documentation, and automated medication dispensing and closed-loop medication administration. About $1.5 million was invested in CPOE, which is expected to be in full use by January 2009 at BMC and Fairview Hospital, as well as at community physician practices.

BHS expects to have a fully electronic medical record by the end of 2009. In the process, the eCare system will increase availability and accessibility of information; reduce medication errors; gain to operational efficiency; and capture and provide needed information for pay-for-performance and other external reporting requirements.

All in all, BMC is far ahead of the curve, as seen in the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics Database graph. BMC is currently at Stage 4 (with only 2.2% hospitals nationwide) and will be at Stage 5 (with only 1.4% having achieved that level nationwide) once our medication management system implementation is complete this June. Most other hospitals nationwide are only at Stage 2 or 3.

“BHS is committed to moving forward in the electronic medical record arena.” said Joe Diver, BHS Chief Information Officer, “Improved patient safety and enhanced patient care are top priorities for us as an organization, and investing in technology like CPOE and the EMR will ensure that we reach those goals and provide the best possible care to our patients and our community.”

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