Streamlining medicine

By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
ccalloway@pntonline.com

As part of a federal mandate of the Affordable Care Act, Roosevelt General Hospital installed a new patient registration system that is completely electronic in late-January.

The $2.8 million program, which had been in development since April, is still in its beginning phases. According to RGH Spokeswoman Amber Hamilton, they plan to complete the necessary changes within the next six months.

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune RGH nurse Courtney Cathey checks patient information on a work station on wheels, or a WOW. With all RGH medical files being electronic, the WOW makes it easy for providers when consulting with their patients.

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune
RGH nurse Courtney Cathey checks patient information on a work station on wheels, or a WOW. With all RGH medical files being electronic, the WOW makes it easy for providers when consulting with their patients.

RGH staff said the change is much more than an expensive program; patients will get to reap the benefits too.

Director of Nursing Services Mercedes Lopez, a member of the core team to launch the program, said the goal is to connect all components of the hospital to the patients. About 1,200 patients have been registered in the system since its inception, according to Lopez.

Here are a few highlights of the new system RGH staff say will benefit patients and streamline hospital visits:

• Faster service

Hamilton said when patient information is first put into the system, a profile is created. From that point on, patients will only have to verify information instead of going through a tedious sign-in process.

The RGH community will have access to the same files, according to Lopez. For example, if a patient is seen at the clinic and then admitted to the hospital, doctors in the hospital will have access to the same files and won’t have to ask patients repetitive questions.

“It helps the duplication process go faster,” Lopez said.

• Patient safety

With doctors and staff having the same patient information, Hamilton said this reduces chances of error in subjects such as allergies and medicine information. She said patients can often forget what medications they are taking or the allergies they have.

“It ensures safety so you don’t repeat or miss anything,” Hamilton said.

Access

Patients will have access to their electronic charts and be able to view all of their results and documents online. Lopez said patient-access will keep patients in the loop and will allow patients to review their medical records at any time.

Security

Though most of RGH staff will have access to the system, Lopez said there are many security checks in the system to ensure only the right doctors have access to patient information. The system’s information is backed up in another state to ensure its safety.

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