Prior to Richards’ hire, KHC contracted for IT services and network assistance. Employee structure was changed to bring him on staff.
Richards believes the transition should be transparent to patients. It should not affect care or the process doctors follow.
There are hospitals in the country that are working to make the transfer to an electronic records system, directly from a system based entirely on hard, paper copies. KHC already has some electronic records management, and since this process has begun, paper records have been scanned in electronically to make the transfer.
Benefits to the transition to an electronic records management system include quick access to one’s entire medical history. The interconnectivity with other health care facilities that will come with the new system will allow doctors to quickly access a patient’s records regardless of where one needs medical attention. The risk of error when entering patient information will be decreased, Richards added. Files will be backed up. All entries into the system will be audited, to observe who made the entry, to avoid any unauthorized access or changes to one’s medical records.
For its electronic records management, KHC has turned to Cerner, based in Kansas City. According to Richards, this is the number two company in the nation to provide this system, and the top one available to hospitals the size of KHC. The top company exclusively services large hospitals. KHC is too small to be accepted as a customer.
Cerner will have several representatives on site in the early days of the system’s implementation at KHC. On Sunday, Richards expects to have 30 representatives from Cerner at KHC.
In addition, each department at KHC has one designated expert who has received extensive training on the system, to allow him or her to properly train the rest of the department. A former laundry room at KHC was transformed into a training center, complete with several computers, for employees to learn the system. Cerner will be based out of that room while on site.