Patient Safety First

Electronic Medical Records
Why Are Electronic Medical Records Important to Patients?

In modern pediatric health care, each patient is associated with a vast amount of data — from medications to allergies. It’s crucial to each patient’s safety that every provider has access to this data.

  • The average hospital patient is seen by more than 60 care providers — physicians, nurses, and many specialists.
  • The average hospital patient receives 21 medication doses every day.
  • The top 10 percent of patients receive 49 doses a day.

A lot of information about a child needs to be shared among these providers. We call it a handoff when one provider takes over for another, or a patient is moved from one unit to another. Traditionally in hospitals, that handoff is when mistakes have happened — sometimes deadly mistakes.

How eRecord Benefits Patients

At UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, we’ve tackled patient safety head-on. We began by implementing the computerized provider order entry (CPOE) system in 2002. CPOE removed written orders from the medication ordering and delivery process, creating a unified medication record.

CPOE was accompanied by other patient safety initiatives — and Children’s Hospital’s already admirable patient safety record made unprecedented improvements.

  • Serious medication errors declined 92 percent.
  • Fewer than 5 percent of medication orders are verbal.
  • About 99.5 percent of all results are entered directly online; 0.5 percent are scanned paper.
  • The reduction in transcription costs saves $42,800 per year for a single note type across six service lines.
  • From 2003 to 2009, there was a 60 percent decrease in medication safety events.
  • From 2008 to 2009, the amount of time from administration of two commonly prescribed antibiotics to documentation on the patient’s chart decreased from 65 to 70 minutes to 10 to 15 minutes.

Learn more about how barcode technology helps keep patients safe.