Health Information Exchange Featured Article

September 26, 2012

Electronic Health Records Solve Hospital's Real-Time Access Problem

Electronic health records (EHRs) have been getting a bad rap lately. Doctors have been accused of “upcoding” (charging more for services for Medicare patients), and even billing for patients they’ve never seen, while the government is angrily going after them.

But in many places, EHRs are very good things, and this is true for The Chester County Hospital (CCH), a 220-bed hospital serving Chester County, Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas.

The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided $20 billion in incentive payments to physicians and hospitals to accelerate their adoption of EHRs. About 3,500 hospitals and 150,000 physicians have registered for the program, as of this month.

CCH has deployed an advanced clinical virtual desktop system, making it possible for clinicians to instantly get access to clinical applications throughout the hospital in real-time, using RES Workspace Manager software.

The addition of the software to the virtual desktop system allows hospital IT staff to significantly reduce the time they spend accessing and updating EHRs.

Before the application was installed, updating EHRs had to take place during or after patient observations, and, in many cases, caretakers didn’t have immediate access to a hospital computer, so had to wait to make an update.

Security was another issue. The hospital’s previous access management capabilities required multiple log-ins and passwords for a variety of applications across the organization, all of which would also have to undergo periodic updates. As a result, hospital staff needed to make frequent and frustrating calls to the helpdesk.

In an already high-pressure, fast-paced environment, CCH needed flexibility. The strategic architecture and controlled access streamlined into one platform helped staff stay on top of EHR access to allow care providers easy, predictable access to the applications, printers and personal files each clinician needed.

In addition, the software allowed doctors, nurses and other authorized clinicians to enter orders and check test results to administer medications, and provided even stronger, more centralized workspace management and security capabilities.

Edited by Brooke Neuman