Texas Health Allen Implements Electronic Health Record
09/22/2009

ALLEN, Texas — With healthcare reform at top of mind, designing systems that improve patient care are tantamount. Following the lead of other hospitals in the Texas Health Resources system, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen recently implemented the electronic health record throughout its hospital.

This complex computer-based system collects, organizes, shares and manages clinical and administrative patient information, and is used by physicians on the medical staff, nurses and caregivers throughout the hospital.

The switch to electronic health records is designed to improve care in many ways, including reducing medical errors and increasing efficiency. Once recorded, a patient’s information — such as medical history, prescribed medications or lab results — is quickly accessible to help guide users in making treatment decisions.

“The electronic health record gives better access to the patient’s chart for everyone who is caring for that patient,” said Shelly Cave, manager of innovative technology solutions. “Clinicians generally have immediate access to reports or lab results as they come in. They don’t have to wait for someone to send a fax; all they have to do is pull up the record from anywhere in the hospital and it will be there.”

Texas Health Allen, one of 14 hospitals in the Texas Health system, joins eight other Texas Health hospitals now using the electronic health record. By 2012, all 14 hospitals will be using electronic health record and will have the capability to share information across the health system.

During Texas Health Allen’s implementation of the electronic health record, 37 employees who were trained to become “super-users” of the new technology worked additional shifts to help each unit of the hospital make the switch.

“A lot of hard work on the part of the nurses, physicians on the medical staff and hospital employees went into making this a success,” said Cave, who led the implementation of the electronic health record in Allen.

In 2004, the Bush administration announced the creation of the National Health Information Technology Office to oversee the development of a nationwide health IT infrastructure and challenged each U.S. hospital to develop and fully implement the electronic health record within a decade.

A growing number of healthcare institutions have identified IT as one of the most powerful tools for reducing medical errors and improving the quality of healthcare including the Institute of Medicine, National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics and the Department of Health and Human Services.

For Texas Health Allen, the move to the electronic health record is another step in continually looking for ways to help patients. The transition to electronic health records, completed this summer, was a fairly smooth process, said Sheila McKinney, hospital president.

“Anytime you have a significant change in processes, there is a learning curve,” McKinney said. “Our ultimate goal is to provide the best possible care to our patients and their families, and we are willing to make changes when necessary to improve our quality of care.”

About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen is a 62-bed acute-care hospital serving the northern Collin County area since 2000. The hospital’s services include women’s services, a Level II neonatal intensive care unit, orthopedics, pediatrics, wound care and sleep medicine. Texas Health Allen, an affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, has more than 425 physicians on its medical staff practicing in more than 25 specialties. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL or visit TexasHealth.org/Allen.