Friday, February 17, 2012

Charting the course for the future

Whether a nurse administering medication using eMAR or an admitting coordinator registering a patient in PATCOM, many day-to-day operations at the MGH are conducted electronically. Next on the horizon is the Acute Care Documentation (ACD) project – also known as e-chart – an innovative, computerized documentation system for inpatient clinical assessments, notes and flowsheet data. By electronically capturing, storing, processing and displaying this data in one place, the system will enable more cohesive and efficient patient care.

Multidisciplinary teams comprised of clinicians, administrators, Information Systems staff and external consultants are working to fine-tune e-chart in preparation for its pilot launch at the MGH and BWH. Leading the project at the MGH are Sally Millar, RN, director of Patient Care Services Informatics; James McFarland, MD, Heart Center physician; and Deborah Adair, MPH, MS, RHIA, director of Health Information Services.

“This project has been underway for several years because we must make sure that although the system is standardized, it still meets the important, highly specific needs of different patient populations,” says Millar. “Once completed, however, we believe it will be a remarkable improvement in quality and efficiency for both patients and staff.”

The e-chart application, which uses MetaVision software, will be piloted on a small number of units at the MGH and BWH sometime in 2012. Enhancements to support clinician workflow and system requirements will be made at the completion of the pilot. Once finalized,  the system will be implemented on all
adult and pediatric inpatient units at the MGH and BWH.

“We will be in close communication with the hospital community once a timeline for pilot testing and implementation is set,” says McFarland.

While the implementation of e-chart will provide immediate improvements to inpatient documentation, the ACD project also is laying the foundation for an even more comprehensive project known as the Enterprise Clinical System.  A steering committee was launched in May 2011 by Partners President and CEO Gary L. Gottlieb, MD, MBA, to help guide the initiative across all Partners entities. Committee co-chairs are Gregg Meyer, MD, senior vice president of the Edward P. Lawrence Center for Quality and Safety, and Cindy Spurr, RN, MBA, corporate director of Clinical Systems at Partners.

“E-chart will serve as a bridge to the Enterprise Clinical System, which is still several years down the road,” says Meyer. “The work we are doing to roll out e-chart is essential to the work needed to implement the Enterprise Clinical System. In addition, e-chart functionality is needed to meet federal meaningful use of health information technology deadlines.”

More information about e-chart and Enterprise Clinical System will be provided in future issues of MGH Hotline.

Read more articles from the 02/17/12 Hotline issue.

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