After spending several years implementing the full medical record, CHS focused its efforts during 2011 on extending functionalities. This involved new features to make patient care even safer. The new tools were implemented at Carolinas Medical Center-Pineville, CMC-Mercy, seven emergency departments, and the new healthcare pavilions at CMC-Waxhaw and CMC-Kannapolis.
In addition, more than 100 Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute physicians and dozens of medical practices throughout the Carolinas incorporated the new EMR technology for office use. The AHEC library was renovated and expanded in 2011 to accommodate more third- and fourth-year students from the UNC School of Medicine. Adapting to the times, the library made significant progress toward purchasing all books and journals electronically. This reduces expense and allows library users 24/7 access to important research materials from any location with an Internet connection.
Other technological advances during the year made information more available to healthcare consumers as well. Prominent among these was a free mobile application that makes the prime functionalities of the CHS website available to users of smartphones and similar devices.
Other popular CHS apps allow users to track emergency and urgent care wait times at more than 30 CHS facilities. Throughout the year, mobile apps were used much more frequently to find physicians, look up phone numbers and locate driving directions.
Finally, enhancements made to EMR infrastructure during 2011 will enable several major facilities to go live with upgrades during 2012. These include Carolinas Medical Center-University, Carolinas Medical Center, Levine Children's Hospital and Carolinas Medical Center-Union. Later in the year and on into 2013, Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast, Cleveland Regional Medical Center (CRMC), Kings Mountain Hospital and Blue Ridge Healthcare System will follow suit, thus helping to complete the EMR transition.
"Our implementation of this system does so much more than simply convert patients' records from paper to electronic access," said Craig Richardville, senior vice president and chief information officer. "It works to deliver tools that help the physician provide safer care. It also creates a solid foundation by which patients can become more active participants in managing their own healthcare."
Creating a strong relationship between patients, physicians and staff through technology is simply one more way that CHS adds significant value to today's evolving models of care.