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Electronic Medical Records

Posted Oct 21 2008 12:51am
Partners Healthcare System had an ad in the Globe yesterday talking about the development of their Electronic Medical Records (EMR) System. They deserve credit for their progress on this important project. We have a similar effort underway in our hospital. As of this week, we have the same adoption of EMRs as Partners - 85% of our faculty are using electronic records in their practices. In addition, all of these doctors will be using ePrescribing (electronic delivery of accurate prescriptions to pharmacies) by the end of the year. Several dozen of our physicians have this available to them now.

But along with this good news comes a problem:

Twenty-seven percent (27%) of the patients who are seen at either BIDMC and Brigham and Women's Hospital are also seen at the other hospital. But if you have a blood test at BWH, and doctors at BIDMC want to view the results at your next visit at our place, the information is not available on their computers. Why is that? It is because our EMR system and the one run by Partners Health Care are not interoperable. Likewise, if you need to go to an emergency room in Worcester, but your primary care doctor is part of Partners primary care network or is one of our primary care affiliates, the ER there cannot get instantaneous electronic access to your medical history.

As we each make progress with our own systems, it would be great if we could also learn how to share data across systems. Interoperability is at an early state in the country because of the need for standards, privacy concerns, and lack of a consistent architecture. We look forward to working with our colleagues across the state to solve these problems.
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