Oakwood honored for Electronic Medical Records implementation


One year after its first hospital went live with an electronic Medical Records (EMR) system, Oakwood Healthcare has joined an elite group of healthcare systems across the country with the successful EMR implementation at all four of its acute care hospitals.

The four Oakwood hospitals are among the only 10 percent of hospitals across the country to earn Stage 6 recognition from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics for its investment in and commitment to the adoption of an EMR system. Of the 5,400 U.S. hospitals tracked by HIMSS Analytics, only 533 have earned this distinction.

“This has been one of our main organizational priorities for more than two years,” said Brian Connolly, Oakwood’s President and CEO. “We set a very ambitious 25-month timetable that we met, thanks to the dedication of the project core team, the Oakwood staff and our physicians. It’s through their efforts that we are able to lead the way with this emergent technology and improve the quality and safety of patient care.”

Called “OakCare,” the EMR system is powered by Epic, the largest provider of electronic medical records in the country. Oakwood began the transition last August, when the system went live at the Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center in Dearborn. Since then, the system was also implemented at Oakwood Annapolis Hospital in Wayne, Oakwood Heritage Hospital in Taylor and the Oakwood Southshore Medical Center in Trenton.

“All health systems will need to adopt this technology, but we wanted to provide it to our patients as soon as possible because of the many benefits it provides them,” said Connolly. “We did it because it was the right thing to do, not simply because we had to do it.”

OakCare will improve the quality and value of care Oakwood patients receive in a number of ways, including:

• Reducing the time physicians spend on paperwork, allowing them to spend more quality time with patients
• Reducing the potential for redundant testing by tracking tests patients receive throughout the system
• Ensuring patients receive the proper medication at the proper time through use of barcodes and scanners that correlate prescriptions and patients
• Reducing translation errors in prescriptions because those directions will be typed, not hand-written
• Providing patients with more information at discharge, which will allow for better follow-up care and reduced readmissions to the hospital
• Improved safety and security because EMRs will only be accessible by members of the patient’s care team.

Physicians acknowledge that OakCare is making their work more accurate and efficient, benefiting their patients. “Notes are easier to read and I no longer have to decipher other doctors’ handwriting,” said Oakwood-affiliated oncologist Mohammed Ogaily, MD. “I can access notes and orders from anywhere on any computer. It is an indispensible part of patient care.”

By earning the Stage 6 recognition from HIMSS Analytics, Oakwood has a significant advantage over competitors in the areas of patient safety, clinician support, clinician recruitment, and competitive marketing for both consumers and nurse recruitment, said John Hoyt, FACHE, FHIMSS, Executive Vice President, Organizational Services, for HIMSS.

“This significant achievement shows that Oakwood is leading the way in this very crucial area of health care,” he said. “Stage 6 represents a level of sophistication that only 533 U.S. hospitals have reached to date.”

“To serve our patients well, we need to provide the highest quality, most efficient care possible,” said Paula Smith, Oakwood’s Chief Information Officer. “Taking a ‘big bang’ approach to bring all four hospitals on board in less than a year was a major step for Oakwood. Our team of physician leaders, trainers and staff experts made this possible. It is because of their success that we are able to bring this level of quality care and value to our hospitalized patients, no matter where they go at Oakwood for care.”

CUTLINES: Tom Stathakios, MD, (above, left) Division President Kelly Smith and Oakwood CEO Brian Connolly discuss the conversion to the OakCare electronic medical record system in the POHA/PACU unit at Oakwood Heritage Hospital. All four Oakwood hospitals have now implemented an electronic medical records system. (Below) Charles Williams, (standing) Diane Moore, RN, Virginia Andres (standing) and Linda Danneels, RN try out the new EMR system on the Mental Health unit at Heritage Hospital.

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