Dayton, Ohio & Beatrice, Neb. - As the nation's 1,500 Critical Access Hospitals struggle to close the IT gap, Southeast Nebraska's Beatrice Community Hospital and Health Center is moving steadily ahead in its digital transformation. Led by Standard Register, a leader in document management and workflow automation, Beatrice has begun its transition to electronic medical records (EMR), bypassing many of the pains hospitals encounter when faced with automating paper-intensive processes.
"You simply don't move from paper to paperless overnight," said Patty Hortman, Beatrice's clinical information analyst and Information Services project manager for the SMARTworks Clinical Enterprise implementation. "We had a proliferation of forms, problems controlling versions and ugly looking copies. Standard Register helped us lay an essential foundation for our transformation."
According to Hortman, Standard Register guided efforts to consolidate and standardize clinical forms, enabling Beatrice to eliminate 45 percent of forms in use and converting most of the remaining forms to electronic. Now the majority of forms going into patient charts can be printed on demand if they are needed, and every one carries a bar code.
Beatrice uses Standard Register's SMARTworks Clinical Enterprise to access and manage both electronic and paper documents that support clinical workflow. Hortman said the technology has also enabled them to transform their registration process. She explained that as patients are admitted, the system automatically generates patient kits, printing patient demographic information and bar codes directly on face sheets, consents, wristbands, labels and other forms.
Hortman reported that one key measure of the system's success has been clinician acceptance. By closely monitoring patient charts that come through for coding, Beatrice's health information management staff determined compliance was 99 percent within two months of installing SMARTworks Clinical Enterprise.
Now focused on Beatrice's EMR implementation, Hortman said, "If I had it to do over, I'd have done this sooner. Standard Register helped us streamline our processes, eliminate version control issues, and now all of our forms are standardized and bar-coded. That has been truly beneficial," she concluded.