Martha's Vineyard Hospital begins move to electronic medical records
The Obama administration plans to spend $19 billion of stimulus money in a push to implement health care information technology in doctor's offices across the nation. As health experts debate the merits of various electronic medical record (EMR) systems and national strategies, Martha's Vineyard Hospital will benefit from technology already in use throughout the Partners HealthCare System, to which the Martha's Vineyard hospital belongs.
It is part of sweeping change that will transform the way medical care is delivered on Martha's Vineyard. The most obvious sign is the construction of a new $42 million hospital adjacent to the ground-hugging, 1974 vintage wooden building it will replace, and adjacent also to that older building's predecessor and to the Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, which opened in the 1990s.
But as significant is the technological infrastructure to be installed in the new hospital. It will affect the ways in which Island physicians keep track of patients and monitor and manage their care.
Instead of relying on paper records in manila folders, Martha's Vineyard Hospital doctors will use a state-of-the-art electronic medical records (EMR) system now in use in some of the Boston area's best known hospitals that are also units of the Partners system.
The plan calls for doctors to be able to retrieve a patient's complete file electronically. The touch of a computer screen will provide access to up-to-date medical records, including test results and a patient's history, along with alerts about possible drug interactions.
On March 1, 2007, Martha's Vineyard Hospital became an affiliate of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and a member of Partners HealthCare, a nonprofit founded in 1994 by MGH and Brigham and Women's Hospital, both in Boston. Partners HealthCare includes Newton-Wellesley Hospital, North Shore Medical Center, Faulkner Hospital, McLean Hospital, and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
At the time, Tim Walsh, Martha's Vineyard Hospital chief executive, said that becoming part of MGH would enable the hospital to tap new resources and take advantage of programs and systems out of the reach of smaller medical facilities. As an example, he cited the medical information systems and technology that Partners has developed over the past decade and a half.
The Longitudinal Medical Record (LMR) is a web-based ambulatory electronic health record, certified in 2007 by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology, an independent, nonprofit organization that has been officially recognized by the federal government. The system is now used across the Partners system.