Beginning on August 27th, approximately 100 medical, hospital and IT professionals will descend on the Kona community for a month-long integrated test of the Hawaii Health System Corporation’s (HHSC) new electronic medical records (EMR) system. Kona Community Hospital will be hosting this large-scale testing process which will be the first of its kind for the state health system.
In 2010, HHSC, launched a corporate strategic plan called the Electronic Medical Records Gaining Efficiency (EMeRGE) project. The EMeRGE project utilizes the latest health information technology to replace HHSC’s soon-to-be-obsolete system. The objective is to implement long-term, integrated solutions that will provide health care professionals access to patient information where it’s needed, when it’s needed, across HHSC’s varied care settings, which will ultimately improve the overall quality of care and patient safety.
Since September of 2011, HHSC clinical and operational staff along with a team from Siemen’s Medical Solution USA have been involved in designing, building and testing the EMR system. The majority of the design and build of the financial portion of the system took place on Oahu. The majority of the clinical design and build was conducted on Maui. To date, Kona Community Hospital (KCH) has hosted small-scale site visits and testing scenarios.
However, the West Hawaii Region comprised of Kona Community and Kohala Hospitals is on target to be the first region in the HHSC system to implement live EMRs. This major milestone makes KCH the logical host for the EMR project’s upcoming integrated testing and training stage. Over the past several months, KCH clinical and operational teams have been preparing for the influx of personnel and technology. Everything from parking space to power sources and meeting rooms have been upgraded and prepared. Additional technology infrastructure has been built into the hospital’s old system, and new equipment has been purchased.
The local business community will also be impacted by the arrival of health and IT professionals. Dozens of hotel rooms have been reserved with several local hotels for the month-long exercise. Rental car agencies will also see an influx of reservations as testing teams will need cars and minivans for transportation. Team members will be afforded the opportunity to enjoy a variety of Kailua-Kona’s great shopping, dining and weekend activities.
“The EMeRGE project is the most significant undertaking by the State hospital system since the formation of HHSC. The importance of the implementation of system-wide electronic medical records cannot be overstated. It will effect nearly every aspect of our business including admissions, scheduling, documentation, pharmacy, billing and day-to-day communication. Moreover, it will help to ensure that we meet our long-term goal of improved patient outcomes,” said Dennis Macklin, director of Information Technology at Kona Community Hospital.