MO, AL hospitals complete transition to EMRs

The large-scale shift to electronic medical records is underway as January 2011 fast approaches, but we still consider it newsworthy when a hospital finally ditches its paper records. At least two have reached that goal in the past week or so.

On Saturday, SSM DePaul Health Center in Bridgeton, MO, became the seventh hospital in the multi-state SSM Health Care network of Catholic hospitals to go fully electronic, when the facility officially ended its reliance on paper charts. The system includes electronic documentation, e-prescribing, results reporting and remote physician access, plus a patient portal for personal health records and secure messaging. The hospital also has installed a computer in every patient room, according to the St. Louis-area Suburban Journals.

In the town of Roanoke, AL, Randolph Medical Center has wrapped up an 18-month EMR pilot to demonstrate that small, rural hospitals can have successful EMR transitions, and the facility has no plans to revert to paper now. Thanks to a $1 million federal grant that Alabama public health officials managed, Randolph clinicians now have access to a reporting and trending system, an automated mechanism to manage patients with cardiovascular disease, and interoperability with the EMR at East Alabama Medical Center, a regional hub in Opelika, AL.

For more information:
- see this Suburban Journals piece on SSM DePaul
- read the Randolph (AL) Leader story about Randolph Medical Center