Daughters of Israel is making the change to electronic medical records, and staff members say the move will free up administrative time, cut costs, and improve the ordering and delivery of medications.
The switch also puts the West Orange nursing and sub-acute rehabilitation facility ahead of the curve. Federal mandates expected within the next five years will likely require nursing homes to switch to “EMRs.”
Full funding for the EMR rollout was provided by The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey with a grant of $275,000.
The EMR implementation has been an enormous task, said the institution’s top executive, Susan Grosser, but “one of the most exciting and transforming initiatives that I have spearheaded as executive director at Daughters. Our EMR project will enable us to effect significant change for the better, and our residents will be able to realize many of these benefits right away.”
EMRs enable health-care providers to be electronically connected to physicians, hospitals, laboratories, and radiology offices, among other facilities.
Electronic records assist in freeing up staff time now spent on paper processing and telephone contacts with local pharmacies. Electronic prescriptions and instructions also allow for greater accuracy, and reduce the potential for adverse medication reactions.
The technology is also cost-effective, and can lower medication costs by cutting though red tape, said Grosser, “which is particularly important for us as a nonprofit institution.” Daughters is a partner agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.
Daughters staff took part in all-day site visits at other nursing facilities throughout the region that have implemented EMR. After interviewing software vendors, they hired New York-based SigmaCare, which provides EMR technology for the long-term-care industry.
The EMR implementation will roll out in three phases. The first, which was completed at the end of October, addressed electronic medication and treatment administration, computerized physician order entry, and electronic progress notes by all disciplines. The phase included data entry and training in addition to the implementation itself.
The next phases will include nursing assessments and reimbursement records; computer kiosks, located strategically throughout the facility, will allow certified nurse assistants to document the care they provide residents.