Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Pioneers Digital Medicine

Electronic Health Records Revolutionize Communications and Improve Patient Safety

Nurse using electronic health records.A Paperless Hospital

The new Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is one of the nation’s most advanced pediatric hospitals in using integrated electronic health record systems to replace paper charts, forms, and prescription orders at every level of the hospital’s operations.

The technology is called Children’s eRecord. It’s a group of systems in which every piece of patient information — tests, procedures, radiology images, assessments, recommendations, and medications — can be called up at the child’s bedside. The record travels with the child and is always available to the medical team.

What Does the eRecord Mean for Patient Care?

Every member of a child’s care team is on the same page. Every member knows the patient’s history — the full treatment plan and all of the questions that families have already answered — so families don’t have to answer the same questions several times.

 A child undergoing surgery is tracked by the eRecord throughout the entire process, from anesthesia and other preoperative procedures, through the operating room and postoperative procedures in the recovery room. At every step, the medical team has a complete record of his or her medications and conditions. In the waiting room, the child’s family can follow the process on a screen displaying a simplified version of the tracking data.

In the Emergency Department, children are tracked from the first contact with the registration nurse.

In critical care units, an electronic display keeps key vital signs and eRecord data always on-screen — sharpening what critical care teams call “situational awareness.” They can know what is happening at every moment and at a glance quickly synthesize information to make critical decisions. And with hands-free communication devices, team members can be reached without stopping to pull out a cell phone or a pager.

Work on the eRecord began long before Children’s moved into its new state-of-the-art hospital in May. Physicians, nurses, and other staff members were using the eRecord at Children’s 80-year-old former campus. At the new hospital, they work in an environment that is specifically designed as a digital hospital. The new hospital’s digital infrastructure not only accommodates the most advanced technology available today, but has the capacity to accommodate tomorrow’s cutting-edge technologies, too.

At the Top in Patient Safety

Children’s eRecord helps make Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC one of the safest  pediatric hospitals in the nation. In a 2008 survey of more than 1,220 hospitals, the Leapfrog Group, a prominent patient safety research organization,  named Children’s Hospital one of only seven pediatric hospitals to achieve a Top Hospital ranking.

One important factor behind Children’s patient safety ranking is the hospital’s computerized provider order entry (CPOE) system — one of the first to be developed in the country — which eliminated handwritten orders from every step in the process of ordering, delivering, and administering medications.

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