Why an emergency medicine electronic medical record ( EMR ) system may be most appropriate for your Emergency Department.
An EHR / EMR that has been designed specifically for the emergency department will have a variety of emergency medicine specific content as well as emergency medicine specific workflows included within the product.
More than most specialties, the practice of emergency medicine has workflow variations that all but require that the program you select has been designed to accommodate all of the various issues that are very specific to work in an emergency department. Stated differently, there are a number of issues which you deal with on a daily basis, but which are of no consequence whatsoever to most other physicians, that you should very diligently assure yourself that these situations can be accommodated for in your software’s workflow.
As merely one example, your software should very tightly integrate with the telemetry equipment of each of your local ambulance companies, so that you will understand the condition of your transported patient even before they reach your driveway.
However, workflow issues can be significantly more sophisticated than this. For instance, when dealing with life and death issues of a number of patients simultaneously, it is imperative that life-threatening lab values be brought to your attention immediately. Unlike other specialists who are unlikely to see a single critical potassium level during the course of the year, you may see this multiple times per week. Being unaware of laboratory results, even for a short time, can make a tremendous difference in the quality of care your patients receive, and you need to be certain that the EMR software system that you choose can provide you with up to the minute data. But that is true for most specialists. For an emergency department physician, it is critical that you be notified, whether it be through an auditory mechanism or otherwise, immediately, of abnormal values. And, notification may not be enough. It may be valuable for you to be able to document in the electronic health record, in the quickest of fashions, that you have received and acted upon this abnormal value.
The design of an emergency medical specific EMR/EHR will allow the physician more content oriented program access to the data used in emergency medicine, frequently in a dashboard view. Emergency medicine is usually delivered in a demanding, fast paced, detail oriented. The ability to transfer attention from patient to patient in an instant is crucial. Your system must not have a large number of clicks or other actions required to open and close patient reports, and in fact the ability to have the records available for multiple patients simultaneously is critical.
The EMR/EHR software should enable you to move from procedure to procedure, while tracking each move in a real time format. This real time documentation process also provides you with access to up to the minute laboratory data, while alerting you of any change. Time is of the essence with emergency medicine and accurate electronic data will allow a more convenient and trusted adaptation to patient care. A properly chosen EMR/EHR can remove many aspects of human error.
Your EMR must be able to interface with other hospital and clinical sites, as well as a variety of different pieces of medical equipment. For example, if a patient would present with symptoms of an acute Myocardial Infarction, you will need pertinent medical history including electrocardiographs and laboratory data from previous visits. You must be able to access this data instantly, rather than experiencing the long wait for a medical records search.
Some important features specific to the Emergency Medicine EMR / EHR programs include:
- Allergy Alerts
- Anatomical Assessments
- Bedside Order Entry
- ECG management system integration
- Interface with ambulance to obtain medical information
- Patient tracking throughout hospital
- Reporting for ancillary services
- Risk Management Features
- Triage Assessment Forms
EMR templates should be available for conditions such as:
- Abdominal Pain
- Chest Pain
- Emergency Contraception Form
- Labor and Delivery ER Visit
Emergency Medicine Protocols and Algorithms incorporated into the system also include:
- Acute Care of at Risk Newborns
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support
- Advanced Trauma Life Support
- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
- First Aid
- Neonatal Resuscitation Program
- Pediatric Advanced Life Support
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