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Nemours VP of Quality and Safety Steve Lawless, MD; U.S. Rep. John Carney; CEO, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Senior Vice President of Nemours, Kevin Churchwell, MD; and U.S. Sen. Chris Coons at the press conference on Meaningful Use of Health Information Technology held at Nemours on January 13 and simultaneously at more than 100 hospitals throughout the U.S.
Today in Wilmington, health care executives and government officials discussed efforts to bring higher quality and safer care to patients through broad adoption of health information technology (health IT). The Nemours/ Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children has joined the ranks of hospitals and health care providers across the nation that are enthusiastically embracing the benefits of electronic health records and other forms of health IT.
Nemours is registering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to demonstrate its intent to become “meaningful users” of electronic health records by the end of 2011. Thanks to incentive funding included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, HHS is able to offer technical and financial assistance as it guides a national effort to encourage more hospitals and doctors to adopt electronic health records over the next few years.
Nemours’ journey with the electronic medical record (EMR) began in earnest in 1996. Today, the investment has paid off in a fully integrated EMR that covers four states and more than 30 operating sites. Kevin Churchwell, MD, CEO of Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children and Senior Vice President of Nemours said, “Our EMR enables us to spend more time on direct patient care, and less time on record-keeping. It means more efficient care and less guesswork. It means complete, legible, unambiguous orders. It means improvements in workflow, billing and management. Using health IT in a meaningful way is truly transforming health care.”
Nemours has monitored its progress with electronic health records to confirm a number of advantages to patients. According to Stephen Lawless, MD, VP of Quality and Safety for Nemours, prime examples of the benefits of electronic health records to patients at the duPont Hospital for Children have been “significant quality improvements related to surgical wound infections, childhood immunizations, central line infections and medication safety. Our medication error-free rate is currently 99.98%.” David West, MD, Medical Director of Health Informatics, then demonstrated the patient identification barcode system that scans the ID wristband and all medication before it is administered to patients to avoid errors. “Embracing Meaningful Use of HIT means constantly striving for and achieving better health outcomes for patients,” said Dr. West.
Senator Tom Carper (D-Del) spoke at the press conference, as did Delaware Lt. Governor Matt Denn, Senator Chris Coons (D-Del) and Congressman John Carney (D-Del). Sen. Carper noted that “electronic health records benefits doctors and patients and will ultimately save time and money. More importantly, they have the ability to improve care by reducing errors and improve health with lifestyle tips and patient education.” Rep. Carney added, “Containing the rising cost of health care is a critical issue today. Health information technology is one of the most effective ways to control health care costs, while improving patient care. Delaware is a national leader in the implementation of electronic medical records, and I look forward to working with Nemours and other health care providers across the state, to continue the progress we have made.”
Speakers urged providers to take advantage of this historic opportunity to make the move to electronic health records and register for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.