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Two Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) hospitals have achieved a national information technology certification that recognizes superior efforts to provide a consistently high level of care and safety for their patients.
The hospitals, CMC-Pineville and CMC-Mercy, now hold Stage 6 certification from Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics for their implementation and use of electronic medical record (EMR) technology. The hospitals are the first in the Charlotte region and among only five in North Carolina to hold Stage 6 certification. Nationally, only six percent of hospitals are so ranked.
This certification recognizes CHS’s use of high-end technology that allows doctors to better document the care they provide to patients. The new technology ensures that a patient’s care and history are fully documented and the data is easily shared among all the system’s hospitals and doctors.
All CHS hospitals are in the process of implementing comprehensive EMR systems. CMC-Pineville and CMC-Mercy are the farthest along, but as other hospitals continue to enhance their capabilities, they will also seek HIMSS certifications.
“Having the right system in place that helps to ensure patient care and safety is paramount,” said Dr. Brent Lambert, Chief Medical Information Officer for CHS. “Regardless of where a patient receives care in our system, physicians and staff will have the most up-to-date information when they need it. However, the real added benefit comes when they use the system in the most meaningful ways possible – from documenting orders and recording notes to ordering medication and administration. The additional checks and safeguards we are putting in place decrease the opportunity for errors, ultimately improving the overall quality of care and safety we can provide.”
For patient care and safety reasons, CHS recognized the need to implement electronic medical records technology in 2003, long before health care reform mandated “meaningful use” provisions for hospitals. This “head start” has enabled CHS to be both a local and national leader in designing the necessary systems and developing implementation programs that result in the smoothest transition possible.
“The full transition to an EMR can take years for providers and staff to fully adopt and adapt to,” said Craig Richardville, CHS Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. “Having met the requirements for
Stage 6 through two of our hospitals – CMC-Pineville and CMC-Mercy – within a year of transitioning their emergency and inpatient facilities to the EMR and computerized provider order entry is remarkable. The remaining CHS hospitals are on the same track and will follow shortly. It sets the bar incredibly high for all providers that will make the transition to fully use electronic medical records.”