Healthcare Business News

IT does the documentation

By Joseph Conn
Posted: July 11, 2011 - 12:01 am ET

Dr. Peter Park is a commander in the U.S. Navy and deputy director for clinical informatics with the Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.

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He leads a team that has grown to more than 250 multidisciplinary members and also serves as manager of a project to develop an emergency department module for the Navy's Essentris inpatient, clinical documentation software system. The module, EssED, is deployed at the 285-bed Naval Medical Center, San Diego; 207-bed Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Wash.; 84-bed David Grant USAF Medical Center, Travis Air Force Base, Calif.; and 51-bed Naval Hospital Bremerton (Wash.) The goal is to have the software module in place at all 50 military hospitals with emergency departments.

Use of computerized documentation has saved the Military Health System more than $2 million in reduced dictation costs, according to military estimates in Park's award nomination.

The project also has enabled the military hospitals using the system to save manpower equal to nine full-time equivalents by leveraging the technology to enhance workflow efficiencies, according to the nomination letter.

As part of the project, Park led a team that built an interface between the documentation software and the Military Health System's main inpatient electronic health record, the Composite Health Care System, or CHCS, an offshoot of the Veterans Affairs Department's EHR system. Both are both based on the MUMPS database and programming language. The interface was key to populating critical patient data from CHCS to the documentation software.

Other phases of development and implementation included computerized physician order-entry, development of after-care instructions and a program known as “the Melder,” which populates the records of emergency room patients with significant data from prior visits.

Park also is co-chairman of the standards development organization Health Level 7 and has worked to see that the Military Health System employs standards-based applications in its health IT programs.

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