UChart Implementation at Sylvester Marks Milestone in Patient Care

In the next phase of the University’s electronic medical record (EMR) implementation to transform patient care, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and UHealth have launched the EMR system UChart at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center/University of Miami Hospital and Clinics (UMHC).

In the new world order, electronic medical records are a fundamental platform for care providers and patients alike. Now paper light, caregivers have better visibility of patient data across the UHealth enterprise through the clinical documentation system.

“The successful implementation of UChart in the Inpatient, Chemotherapy and Radiology Departments at UMHC was the result of a great partnership between the hospital leadership, physicians, nurses and the IT team,” said David Seo, M.D., Associate Vice President of Information Technology for Clinical Applications and Chief Medical Informatics Officer. “Much like our UChart go-live at Bascom Palmer, we have shown how teamwork between the business units and IT leads to successful implementations.”

In addition, University of Miami Information Technology’s (UMIT) clinical applications team recently implemented the new UChart health information exchange module called Care Everywhere that gives health professionals easy access to patients’ health information from other hospitals and clinics that use the Epic EMR system.

“Care Everywhere is a great first step that improves access to healthcare information for our care providers,” said Seo. “In the next phase, we will leverage the Care Everywhere module to connect with non-Epic hospitals such as our partners at Jackson.”

The Chemotherapy Unit is also benefitting from the UChart module Beacon, designed specifically for cancer treatment. Using the specialized system, healthcare providers can create comprehensive treatment plans and schedule lab work, imaging tests and routine appointments, as well as long-term treatments, such as chemotherapy.

“We are now using one system instead of four,” said Angela Olier-Pino, D.N.P., M.B.A., RN, Director of Nursing at Sylvester/UMHC and Executive Director of Infusion Services and Utilization Review. “Every record of the patient is available at the touch of a button. And now that there is no paper, there are no longer issues with legibility, making care much safer for the patient.”

According to Gustavo Fernandez, M.D., assistant professor of clinical medicine, the system also helps simplify the complex treatment plans and chemotherapy cycles for cancer patients, which require multiple medications at various intervals and involve complicated schedules that in most cases need to be planned over the course of a year.

“In the past, writing chemotherapy orders was a little cumbersome, because you needed to switch from one EMR system to another,” Fernandez said. “By integrating everything into one system, we can do it all in the same place with a single log-in. This not only saves time, but offers a better workflow when all doctors, nurses and pharmacists involved in the patient’s care can access the necessary information in the same system. There is always a learning curve with new technology, but we are already seeing the results. Overall, it is going to be a great system for everyone.”

Quality-related clinical data also can be captured for analysis, further strengthening processes for managing complicated treatment plans.

Raja Mudad, M.D., assistant professor of clinical medicine, says Beacon currently has more than 400 validated protocols to provide customized care.

“With Beacon, the protocols are built with the agreed upon recommendations regarding anti-emetics, monitoring of side effects, chemo drugs and post-chemo treatments,” Mudad explained. “Complicated treatment plans are built in and validated multiple times before going into production. The treatment plans flow from one day to the next and make it easy to see from the nurse’s view, the pharmacist view and the provider view, so all team members are looking at the same protocol in real time, but only one person can make changes at any one time.”

Storing a patient’s medical information in one secure location that is accessible to all care providers offers a number of other benefits, says W. Jarrard Goodwin, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Sylvester.

“It’s hard to believe we’ve done without it for so long,” Goodwin said. “In addition to having access to information, it’s a tremendous long-term saving for the medical center’s infrastructure. Implementing this technology integrates the business functions with the care process.”

Just two months ago, Sylvester’s Comprehensive Treatment Unit received first prize at the 2014 Annual Sterling Conference Team Showcase Awards, recognizing the team’s achievements in reducing wait time for outpatients needing same-day chemotherapy by 26 percent and laboratory turnaround time by 53 percent. Now with the UChart technology, Goodwin believes even more improvements in patient care are on the horizon at the Miller School.

“Sylvester/UMHC is an integral part of UHealth, so a part of the implementation process was to make sure that what we rolled out would be compatible at our other hospitals and clinics,” Goodwin said. “It was a very constructive process and absolutely fundamental to good patient care.”

The final phase of UChart implementation is scheduled to take place at University of Miami Hospital in spring 2016.

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