Beaumont Using Electronic Health Records to Improve Patient Care

1/13/2011

Beaumont Hospitals is among the hospitals and health care providers across the nation that are enthusiastic, early adopters of the benefits of electronic health records and other forms of health information technology. Beaumont is on track for achieving "meaningful use" of electronic health records so that it can register for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

January 2011 marks the first time in the nation's history that hospitals and eligible health care providers can register their intent to achieve "meaningful use" of certified electronic health records and qualify for incentive payments under the HITECH Act portion of ARRA. This program is accelerating the transformation of health care by moving the country closer to being able to share patient records electronically amongst all health providers.

According to an American Hospital Association survey on information technology adoption released today, nationally 15.1 percent of hospitals and 24.9 percent of physicians have a basic EHR system in place; and in Michigan only 14 percent of hospitals and 25 percent of physicians have a basic EHR system in place. Nationally, 80.8 percent of hospitals and 41.1 percent of physicians plan to apply for EHR incentive payments; and in Michigan, 87 percent of hospitals and 51 percent of physicians plan to apply for EHR incentive payments.

"Beaumont's electronic health record is making care for our patients safer and more effective," says Leslie Rocher, M.D., physician-in-chief, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak. "The system gives Beaumont doctors, nurses and clinical staff real-time access to the latest patient information, including test results, bedside vitals, medications and discharge instructions for any patient in the Beaumont system and is accessible everywhere at any time. This helps physicians make well-informed decisions about their patient's care."

To meet "meaningful use" requirements, hospitals must have certified EHR technology; have computerized physician order entry; have the ability to electronically share patient records with other health care providers; and report evidence of progress on clinical quality measures. Hospitals that meet the government's annual "meaningful use" requirements can qualify for federal incentive payments for four years.

Beaumont expects to receive $10.3 million in federal incentive funding this year for meeting "meaningful use" requirements.

"The Beaumont organization has invested $100 million over five years in its clinical information system, OneChart," says Subra Sripada, senior vice president and chief information officer. "Our hospitals are largely electronic and technology plays a key role in our delivery of patient care. This year, our priorities include optimizing our EHR system, enhancing how we use the information it provides, and expanding electronic exchange of information with other providers of care."

Subra Sripada

Beaumont's electronic health record includes computerized physician order entry which means all patient orders, prescriptions and care instructions are recorded electronically, versus manually with handwriting.

In placing orders, the system automatically alerts physicians to any patient allergies, implanted devices, safe medication doses and contraindications, thereby enhancing patient safety.

The system helps to reduce duplicate tests and procedures by giving physicians access to information on the care provided to their patient in all Beaumont settings of care, including Beaumont's hospitals, outpatient centers and physician offices.

Beaumont's electronic health record also includes a special feature called MyBeaumontChart that gives patients of participating physicians online access to their personal patient record. This allows them to see test results, schedule appointments, check payment balances, review immunization records and download patient education material related to their condition. This helps patients and their families become proactive partners in managing their health.

Beaumont Hospitals is a three-hospital regional health care provider with a total of 1,744 licensed beds, more than 14,000 full-time equivalent employees and 3,700 physicians in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties. In addition to its hospitals, Beaumont operates numerous community-based medical centers in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties, family practice and internal medicine practices in Macomb and Wayne counties, five nursing centers, a research institute, home care services and hospice. Visit Beaumont on the Web at www.beaumonthospitals.com.

Note: Dr. David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, discusses the importance of registering for the Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs, administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
See Dr. Blumenthal's video-taped remarks.