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$102M for Wexner Medical Center to go paperless

Thomas Bradley / Campus editor

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The Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University recently made a more than $100 million change to the way it stores data, transitioning to an electronic medical record (EMR), which can store, retrieve and modify records.

“The switch to a single, integrated EMR helps us serve our patients with personalized health care,” Marti Leitch, a medical center spokesperson, said in an email.

She said the cost for the new system that stores all the information was about $102 million.

“Being able to share that seamlessly among care providers makes it easier and more efficient to find information and care for our patients,” Leitch said.

Leitch also said for OSU, the switch was vital to ensure the protection of information against electronic privacy rights.

“OSUWMC is taking numerous measures to ensure patient information is protected,” Leitch said. “The EMR are stored in secure servers and access is limited and monitored.”

Mark Hopkins, spokesperson for regional health care system OhioHealth, said the switch to EMR was “convenient and helpful.”

“You can scan information easier, pull an X-ray scan, and look at it in no time,” Hopkins said. “If a doctor is on a vacation in Barbados Island, he can just pull the patient’s file and determine the problem from there.”

Hopkins said in the “old days,” doctors pulled clipboards and recorded all the information on a piece of paper that would later be stacked on boxes, but with technological advances things are changing.

Hopkins said he sees no negatives with the switch and, like Leitch, he is not concerned about allowing record information to be distributed without permission or consent from patients.

“Private information stays confidential,” Hopkins said.

In a meeting with The Lantern on Feb. 6, President E. Gordon Gee said he was happy with the switch.

“I take some solace from the fact that we did the big bang at the hospital, which means that we converted ourselves to electronic records, millions of records. And we did this without hardly any problems. So the fact that we have a technological base that allows us to do this is very heartening to me.”

Adam Lyddane, associate director of the Clinical System University of California San Diego, said their clinic adapted to the switch to EMR.

“My experience with the EMR comes as to how to do it right,” Lyddane said. “You need a good project manager and experienced team members.”

Lyddane said it is very important physicians don’t struggle using the EMR, as it’s a “huge switch” for many that don’t have experience and can become problematic if they don’t go to training.

“It was difficult for everyone to mitigate at training as some people didn’t show up,” Lyddane said. “We didn’t limit our training just in one environment, but we also trained physicians on their own desktops.”

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