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Authors

  1. Hampe, Holly M. DSc, RN, MHA, MRM
  2. Keeling, Terri DSc, BS, PMP
  3. Fontana, Michelle MSN, RN, CCRN
  4. Balcik, Debbie BSN, MS, RN

Abstract

Improving patient care through enhanced electronic communication among health care providers is aimed at reducing the number of medication and medical errors. The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) was signed into law in 2009, supporting the federal government's commitment to the improvement of health care quality, safety, and efficiency through requirements to implement an electronic health record by October 2015 or hospitals and eligible providers potentially realizing penalties or reduced reimbursement rates. In addition to ARRA, Congress presented another initiative to further advance the delivery of high-quality health care, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), leading to the authorization of $27 billion to encourage health care providers to achieve meaningful use of the electronic health record. However, the conversion of the paper medical records to an electronic version has been challenging, particularly in specialty departments. The burn unit of a tertiary hospital located in the Pittsburgh area experienced such challenges. A project plan, developed in 2009 prior to the electronic medical record going live, involved a multidisciplinary team, consisting of providers, nurses, and information system builders who came together to determine how to capture the totality of the burn unit documentation. The goal of the project was to develop an electronic documentation tool and provide a system to accurately and efficiently evaluate documentation compliance with the staff. The Lund Browder documentation tool, used with the paper medical record, was the selected tool for the electronic conversion. This tool has been regarded by most health care organizations as being the most accurate in measuring the extent and degree of the burn. With the paper documentation tool, the staff was, on average, 74% compliant with the Lund Browder tool. The electronic version and availability of the tool increased compliance to 100% in the fourth quarter of 2015.