The experts involved in the implementation to Electronic Medical Records (EMR) gather outside of NorthStar Hospital. From left: Robin Matchett, NorthStar Health System director of professional practice, who spoke about the implementation of EMR to the employees; Connie Koutouzos, NorthStar Health System chief executive officer; Jo Hayes, project manager/director of Nursing Ida, involved in implementing the program at a hospital in Grove, Iowa; Jim Sundberg, project director; Dave Lahr (back), Healthland sales executive; and Daryl Waters, NorthStar IT manager. (NHS photo)
IRON RIVER—NorthStar Health System employees gathered at the “Expedition Centriq” informational meeting throughout the day on May 13 to celebrate and learn about the transition to electronic medical records (EMR).
The theme of the meetings was a camping expedition, simulating the many unexpected events that may occur during the transition period. A panel of experts was present to speak about the EMR process and offer advice and answers to any questions.
According to Connie Koutouzos, chief executive officer, each room will have a computer installed to upgrade the quality and accuracy of the care patients receive, as well as quick access for the health system staff.
“At the end of the day, it’s about all of you in the room, not administration,” she said. “It’s not just about buying a new computer; it’s going to change how we do our business.”
Jo Hayes, the leader in EMR implementation path at her hospital in Iowa, also spoke about the transition.
“I’m so excited for you because this is the path of the future, and it’s not going away,” she said. “You will think ‘How did I do without it?’ and ‘Please don’t take it away.’”
With over 35 years of experience in health care, NorthStar asked Hayes to be part of the implementation at NorthStar.
Robin Matchett spoke about the changes that will occur with the switch to EMR. Bar codes will be placed on patient medications, assuring that the right patient receives the right medication at the right time. Real-time documentation will allow medical staff to enter information, such as vitals and reactions to medication, into the computer right away, instead of at the end of the shift.
“These changes are extremely important for patient-centered care,” she said.
After listening to the expert presentations, the staff had the chance to have fun at the expedition-themed stations. There were nine different stations, with prizes provided by the rec committee. Some stations provided information about the changes included with EMR, but each had something fun for the staff to do, including making S’mores, picking a duck to win a prize and entering to win a free personal day off.
According to Koutouzos, the entire EMR system will be live on July 15.