Chicago health system rep describes benefits afforded over years of EMR use

While some medical facilities in the U.S. have been utilizing electronic medical records (EMR) software for many years, a significant population of practices are just making the transition now because of pressure from the federal government. Consequently, because many EMR systems are so new, it may be hard for facility managers to identify explicit benefits provided through an electronic infrastructure.

However, NorthShore University HealthSystem – an integrated healthcare platform in the Greater Chicago area – has been utilizing an EMR system for nearly 10 years. As such, a large volume of data has been generated electronically that has allowed the health system to make genuine improvements in practice optimization and patient care.

Several innovative uses of EMR-based data were recounted by NorthShore's president and CEO Mark Neaman at the annual congress of the American College of Healthcare Executives on March 19, and were later recorded by Fierce Health IT.

For example, because of data obtained through EMR deployment, NorthShore staff members were able to utilize predictive modeling to identify patients carrying the difficult-to-treat bacterium MRSA without needing to spend time surveying each one individually.

Furthermore, it was previously thought that any post-op patients with a temperature above 98.5 required antibiotics. But, by analyzing the EMR data harvested from these patients, the organization was able to identify that an appropriate post-op temperature should be slightly higher, allowing facility managers to cut down on antibiotic usage.

In order to fully recognize these benefits at other facilities who may not have the experience with EMR, it would be helpful to deploy the services of a medical technology consulting company. These professionals can assist in the transition period and thoroughly train staff on-site so that EMR metrics can be used to similarly improve patient care and maximize a practice's operational efficiency.

Microwize Technology is a leading healthcare IT consultant offering products such as electronic medical records software and medical billing software from top providers like Allscripts and McKesson, including McKesson's Medisoft, Lytec and Practice Choice products.