|May 02, 2008||Media contact: Bruce Spiher
Patient safety project complete as entire U-M Health System offers online ordering of lab tests, medications, procedures and more
Three-year effort already has reduced medical errors by 29 percent; cut by 40 percent time it takes to get urgent medications to patients
U-M Cardiovascular Center
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ANN ARBOR, Mich – Nearly three years and thousands of hours later, patient safety received another boost at the University of Michigan Health System as the institution completed implementation of its online order entry system in the University Hospital and the Cardiovascular Center this week.
Even before it was complete, the system – which has been rolled out in various parts of the institution -- has resulted in a 29-percent reduction in medication errors and has cut by 40 percent the time between the ordering and administration of urgent medications.
The project, begun in 2005, improves the quality and safety of inpatient care in the Health System by moving from what was once a cumbersome paper process to one handled electronically in a faster, safer and more standardized fashion.
UM-CareLink allows physicians, nurses and technicians to order laboratory tests, procedures, medications, and nutrition services online from any computer, eliminating the need for paper forms. The system also streamlines workflow and allows caregivers to receive immediate information about a patient’s allergies, possible drug interactions and other personalized information to enhance safety.
The system’s electronic ordering and filling of prescriptions address medication errors -- the largest patient safety concern in hospitals nationwide – by eliminating the risks associated with written orders and multiple “handoffs” of information between providers.
“I’m both excited by and proud of this project and the many people who have been involved in implementing it,” says Robert Kelch, M.D., U-M executive vice president for Medical Affairs and CEO, U-M Health System. “We have used information technology to make our patients’ care better and safer, and our workflow more efficient. This is a major enhancement to our already advanced medical information capabilities.”
Hundreds of clinicians and technology professionals have worked to ensure that U-M CareLink meets the needs of the Health System’s clinicians and patients. That has been no small task: Thousands of faculty and staff members have undergone training on the system.
Since June 2007 alone:
- Nearly 5,300 staff, including nurses and respiratory therapists, physicians, techs/ancillary staff, clerks, and administrative staff were trained.
- More than 1,966 desktops, laptops and requisition printers were deployed.
The system was implemented in the Women’s Hospital, including the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, in October 2006. It was implemented at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in February 2007 and C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital in June 2007.
“This has been a massive undertaking in the U-M Health System,” says Douglas L. Strong, M.B.A., chief executive officer, University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers. “Every day, tens of thousands of orders are written, carried out and documented in our three hospitals and major hospital-based treatment areas. In just a few years, we have successfully moved all of those handwritten orders online. The results in the key areas where we have already implemented UM-CareLink have been impressive.”
Jocelyn DeWitt, Ph.D., chief information officer for the U-M HHC said UM-CareLink is “a major step toward a fully electronic medical record for all patients at UMHHC, and it is a significant component of our goal to provide high quality patient care and to become the safest hospital in the country."
Written by: Bruce Spiher