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Erlydia Dela Cruz-Page prepares to scan a batch of medical record pages.
Thanks to BWH’s initiative to scan medical records and make them available online, Emergency Department staff are just a few clicks away from the records they need to perform their jobs quickly and efficiently.
“We used to keep a carbon copy of everything, but when we needed to find something, we would have to sort through piles of papers,” said Joshua Kosowsky, MD, clinical director in the Department of Emergency Medicine. “This switch has meant less hassle when staff review records, resulting in an enormous timesaver.”
BWH Health Information Services (HIS) began scanning medical records in January 2007 and recently hit a milestone: nine million pages scanned. That includes inpatient records and records from the Emergency Department, Day Surgery and the newly opened Brigham and Women’s/Mass General Health Care Center at Patriot Place in Foxborough.
“The transition from paper to electronic health records continues to be a success, thanks to the teamwork across the board among HIS, Information Systems and all departments involved,” said George Wilson, Inpatient Scanning manager, who along with Mike Palumbo, EHR analyst, manages a 14-person team in scanning nearly 350 medical records a day.
Considered a bridge to the electronic health record, the scanning of medical records begins when a patient is discharged. HIS staff pick up records from across the hospital and scan in progress notes, notes on patient histories, physicals and consults, anesthesia records, including consent, and advanced care directives. Once scanned, those documents are available online within 24 hours through BICS, The Longitudinal Medical Record (LMR) and CDR. The paper copies are destroyed six months later and the rest of that patient’s records—including the big flow sheets—are sent to storage.
The project is far from over, as HIS expects to roll out its scanning project to additional service areas, including Family Planning, Cardiac Catheterization and In-vitro Fertilization by the end of the year. “Having medical information online is a benefit to anyone who requires access to patient information,” said Palumbo. All inpatient records beginning Jan. 29, 2007, Day Surgery records beginning Nov. 21, 2008, and Emergency Department Records beginning Feb. 11, 2009, are now available online.
From left, George Wilson, Larda Figueroa, Luis Ortiz, Erlydia Dela Cruz-Page, Angel Sanchez, Cina Bazile, Danyell Williams, Shirley Patrick and Gloria Layne of Health Information Services.