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Chadron Community Hospital Sees Benefits Upon EHR Implementation

September 23, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Chadron, Neb.-based Community Hospital and Health Services has achieved significant benefits from implementing an electronic health records (EHR) system, according to a case study from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME).

The 25-bed critical access hospital has been using its EHR system for more than three years, achieving Stage 1 of the meaningful use program. In addition, the system enables providers to gain quick access to other information that’s crucial to giving care, Chadron officials said. For example, Chadron Community’s system helps clinicians query state records to find immunization information on patients. Also, images from the hospital’s digital radiological system are accessible from the EHR, according to the case study.

Chadron Community went live with its records system in July 2011, but preparations for the change started many months prior. “A great deal of work went into the planning,” said Cheryl Cassiday, director of nursing for Chadron Community Hospital. “We did a lot to prepare and teach staff, physicians and other providers.”

In working on the EHR transition, Chadron Community used a multi-disciplinary approach in preparing for the change and selecting a hospital information system. Wide participation ensured that the organization had at least one “super-user” from each department, Anna Turman, the hospital’s CIO and COO, said in the study.

After selecting the system, Chadron Community had only about six months for the implementation and training process. Besides clinical records, the organization automated its pharmacy, emergency department, physical therapy, human resources and financial department, among other areas.

The new system has facilitated information sharing within the organization, Cassiday said. For example, the planners anticipated the needs of the quality assurance manager, who previously had to pore through charts to get the information needed for reports. With the system’s report capabilities, the information on core measures can be gathered automatically, making it easier to get data for submission.

As a result, Chadron Community Hospital was named a 2014 Most Wired winner for the second consecutive year. The organization said that it has also become the first facility in Nebraska to exchange data with Nebraska Immunization NESIIS in the production environment in real-time, via the public health information network messaging system (PHINMS).

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