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Lutheran Seeks Benefits of Electronic Medical Records

January 14, 2010
Lutheran seeks benefits of electronic medical records by Jeff Francis, Wheat Ridge Transcript November 19, 2009 | 09:52 AM For three years more than 150 information technology workers have labored — as well as more than 400 doctors, nurses and physicians — but this month Exempla Lutheran Medical Center implemented an electronic medical records system. Officials believe the project, which they paint as exceedingly ambitious, will benefit staff and patients. Mary Shepler, clinical informatics officer at Lutheran, was instrumental in the conversion of the records. She said the system, which went online Nov. 1, is keeping with the newest trend in the medical industry. "We've actually been on our way to electronic medical records for the last seven years," Shepler said. "We were forward-thinking in that respect." The new system, which is only accessible to users with security clearance, allows doctors and their helpers to access medical records instantly. Previously, Shepler said, it could be a challenge for a doctor at Lutheran to access patient files even from a nearby hospital, as the file would have to be brought to the doctor physically. The new system allows the sharing of such files and even makes provisions for certain out-of-state files. "This system talks to other systems and can take data from other areas," she said. "It's getting all the information in one place so that nobody's hunting and looking for charts." Officials touted the system's benefits to patients, such as swifter service and increased safety. "It's a well thought-out safety improvement," said Peggy Price, chief operating officer. "For instance, historically nurses have worked from papers to record what time medications are given. Now it's recorded in real time. "We're just thrilled to have this," Price said.