Friends of New London Hospital September/October 2012
continued from page 1
The importance of a medical
information system in patient care
What exactly does a medical information
system mean to an NLH patient?
Access to real-time clinical information,
reduces errors, and avoids duplication
during patient care.
Clinicians check drug interactions and
drug allergies instantly.
Lab and radiology procedures are ordered
and reported electronically.
Computerized Physician Order Entry
CPOE) reduces duplicate orders and
unnecessary tests, which reduces the
cost of care.
Patient prescriptions are sent electronically
to the pharmacy of choice, reducing errors.
Authorized users record each patient’s
documentation in a standardized,
structured format for ready access.
Patient records are in one central place,
enabling access for transfer to another
Increased security measures to protect
patient health information.
Electronic recording of data required for
reporting quality measures throughout
Online health information is available for
the decision to apply for a USDA loan/grant in the amount of
$2.9 million to fund the project to ensure that the technology
and the NLH expansion (completed in 2010) were compatible.
Since that time, Dave and his team have transformed how
patient information is entered, saved, and used by our clinicians.
The phrase “meaningful use” is often used to describe and
measure the impact of medical information systems. NLH
determined early in the implementation process that the
technology installed always had to meet the criteria of being
used to improve patient outcomes and increase patient care
safety. “The information flow has to constantly support better
patient care,” says Foss. “Every program, every application
we use has to meet the same test—does it adequately
support the clinical decisions that are being made every day
for our patients?”
It is true that any technology is only as good as the people
using it. Education and training continue to be a large part of
the initiative and will be ongoing. Systems are updated, new
information is added, and more applications are developed.
NLH has clinical “super users” as well as technical staff who
work with clinicians to ensure that they are comfortable
with the technology and understand its value. A key part of
using electronic medical records in the physician practices
has been encouraging each provider to learn at his/her own
pace with support each step along the way. Nurses and other
clinicians participate in hours of training and hands-on use.
New clinical employees are mentored and monitored until
they demonstrate proficiency. “We are dealing with patient’s
lives and health,” says one nurse. “We need to be sure we
always know how the system works and how it will help our
The Most Wired Award is prestigious
recognition of the work and commitment of
hundreds of NLH employees,” states Bruce
King, President & CEO. “But the real value
of the recognition is knowing that we are
meeting our most critical strategic goal to constantly improve
patient care and patient safety. We are setting the standard
for using information technology to deliver quality patient care
throughout our system.”
Arlene Halsted uses an
electronic tablet when
caring for patients.