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SRMC Unveils New Systems

This is an exciting time in health care. The practice of medicine is changing rapidly. Around the country, health systems, hospitals and clinics are modernizing their systems to the digital age, helping to improve care coordination, diminish errors and cut waste. Currently, close to 80 percent of hospitals and more than 50 percent of physician practices have adopted an electronic health record and more are converting every day.

With the goal of lowering overall health care costs, improving patient safety, and coordinating care between health care providers, the federal government has incentivized physician practices and hospitals to install electronic health record (EHR) systems. By 2015, if health care providers do not upgrade to EHRs, they will be financially penalized.

Sonora Regional Medical Center installed an inpatient clinical information system called Project Intellicare about a decade ago. Since then, we’ve successfully computerized numerous systems within the hospital which has reduced errors and saved resources. The Medical Center is now in the process of continuing the modernization of our operating systems by partnering with Cerner Corporation to install “Project Intellicare 2.0.” Cerner is one of the largest medical software companies in the world. Its software is installed in over 10,000 health care facilities world-wide; over 45,000 physicians use their medical software.

Project Intellicare 2.0 includes the installation of an electronic health record system for hospital-based physician offices, a new billing system, new case management software, voice recognition physician charting and a web-based patient portal where patients can conveniently access their health record, manage appointments and communicate with their health care providers.

At the click of a mouse, the EHR has the ability to securely give the physician important information such as patient history, test results, allergies, medications and immunizations. The EHR allows the integrated health network to coordinate your care. For instance, if you go to Prompt Care for an injury and then need to go to the emergency room, the ER physician can look up all of your records, including lab and x-ray results from your visit to Prompt Care, and give the most appropriate care based on the most complete information without duplicating any tests and saving you time. Your information is safe-guarded through multiple security and encryption protocols.

This modernization is going to happen on September 4, when all of the new systems go live. This represents a big change for the Medical Center and our community. Years of planning and thousands of training hours have gone into this project to ensure its success. Many physicians are familiar with EHR systems and are looking forward to moving away from cumbersome paper charts. However, some physicians may experience disruptions in how they practice medicine brought about by these changes. Initially, patients may have to wait longer as physicians and staff become experienced in navigating the new systems. We are committed to keeping the same level of excellent health care for our community during the implementation period.

To ensure success, Adventist Health is investing significant resources at Sonora Regional Medical Center and its clinics for this upgrade. From the summer and into the fall, over 130 outside experts from Adventist Health and Cerner Corporation will have been in Sonora, utilizing hotel rooms, restaurants and other local services.

Change is always hard but we know that this change will improve the health care in our community and empower our patients to take more control over their health care with better access to their health information.