On road to growth, small Kentucky hospital consolidates EHR data
Harrison Memorial Hospital is working to get its data in order as it pursues plans to become a regional medical center.
The 61-bed facility in Cynthiana, Ky., is pursuing these ambitious plans by upgrading its legacy Meditech electronic health record to the latest version, then using it improve information sharing with six regional physician practices it’s acquired, each of which were using independent EHRs from eClinicalWorks.
Those practices were using their own data and could not see the records of the other practices with which they were closely associated, says David Asher, physician practice support manager. “We have a responsibility to ensure the efficient and safe delivery of care to patients, and part of that is giving our physicians access to a complete record containing both current and historical data from across our health system,” he adds.
As Harrison Memorial sought to have an enterprisewide electronic health record covering all patients, all the data from the independent practices had to be collected and placed in a single record that enables a 360-degree view of patient information. Retiring the practices’ eClinicalWorks EHRs also saved significant time, resources and money.
To collect and administer the enterprisewide acute care and ambulatory data, the hospital implemented the clinical archive of BridgeHead Software; the vendor collected the data and placed it in the enterprise EHR, called HealthStore.
“We no longer have to worry about where this patient information resides—it’s housed in a central repository out of direct ownership of the originating application,” says Martha Sullivan, CIO at Harrison Memorial Hospital. “What this means for us, as we continue to expand and potentially acquire other practices, is that we don’t have to be concerned with how we will handle inherited systems and their data.”
Getting to the point of having the data in order and available did not come without challenges, however. Data collection started in May 2018, with the go-live occurring January 1.
The quality of data entry from the practices was not great, Asher recalls, and BridgeHead spent considerable time matching appropriate sets of data, such as dates of birth, as there were lots of errors in the eClinicalWorks data that was in the physician EHRs.
Some processes went better than expected, particularly technical setups and smooth and fast extraction of data, which was made possible because the data that came out of the BridgeHead work was remarkably clean, Sullivan says. For example, one test of the data found only 40 correcting errors over a six-month period, according to Asher. He counsels peers to have vendors clearly address their methods for getting data out of information systems and how that is done.
After go-live, the hospital is realizing benefits, he recalls. “Our patients have one portal and can see office notes, progress notes, X-rays, lab results, medications and medication renewals. And we met our overall goal to see everything about the patients.”