Electronic Medical Records Back to Blog Articles

  • Posted on Oct 28, 2016

This story was originally published in Volume 39 of the Knightly Knews that you can download here.

Change is a function of every industry, and the companies who embrace and initiate that change are the ones who remain viable into the future. Without change, any organization, including Woodward Academy, would lose their competitive edge and fail to meet the growing demands of their client base.

Electronic medical records (EMR) are at the center of health care reform in the United States. Under the guidance of Sequel Youth and Family Services, and the development of Willetts technology, Woodward Academy recently entered the ranks of operating within a federally certified EMR system. The road to this point was thoughtful, full of trial and error, and long, but a necessary step to be at the forefront of what will be inevitable. The decision to invest time and money into developing an EMR system was easy. Marianne Birmingham, Sequel Youth and Family Services Corporate Outcomes Manager, notes that having an EMR system “dramatically increases our ability to automate certain features that are proven to improve client safety. EMRs also improve our ability to communicate, be in compliance, and evaluate client outcomes.”

Once Sequel Youth and Family Services decided to move into an EMR system, the company chose Woodward Academy as the first facility. In August 2015, Willetts began to build the custom EMR, called P.AN.D.A. Amber Terrones, Sequel EMR Project Manager, along with Katie Bjornson, Willetts EMR Project Manager, worked closely with Woodward Academy Nursing Director, Jamie Golly, to determine some of the most important elements of the site. They loaded the site with nursing and psychological assessments, and every thing else that the nursing staff uses with each student. Jamie recalls, “working with Amber and Willets has been an amazing experience. They created an EMR system that perfectly fits our needs.”

After the site was built and internally tested by Jamie and her team, the next step was to prepare for launch. In February 2016, Jamie went through Super User Training that outlined the federal Meaningful Use (MU) objectives, and what needs to happen during the initial 90-day probationary period.

Meaningful Use is a federally funded incentive program that is intended to improve quality, safety, and efficiency, as well as engage patients and families with EMRs. There are 10 objectives as a part of the MU program, all outlined with strict percentage performance benchmarks that must be met. This was a focus of Marianne’s throughout the initiative, and she even coined herself the MU Project Manager. “These objectives are not negotiable and must all be met in order for a program to pass MU. If they fail even one objective by .01%, they fail the whole program for the entire year.”

From February to April 2016, Jamie and her team participated in an intense training schedule that required them to complete 4-5 online trainings each week. May 1st was the launch date of P.AN.D.A., along with the beginning of the 90-day probationary period to meet MU objectives. From that point forward, everything revolved around the EMR. On campus, the Admissions Department input the student demographic information, and the nursing staff lived within the system. Every medical assessment and prescription order was done through P.AN.D.A. When a student returned from a vision, dental, or got a routine check up, that paperwork was scanned and uploaded into the system. If the student had allergies or used specific medications, that information could be found within the system as well.

One of the MU objectives was to ensure that students understood how to access this information and had a proper login and password. The nursing staff went through this information thoroughly and showed them where they could also access educational materials on the site, such as the side effects of certain medications, nutritional planning, and the benefits of quitting smoking.

On September 1, the entire EMR P.AN.D.A team could take a moment to celebrate – Woodward Academy passed every MU objective within the first 90 days. Woodward Academy Executive Director Ryan Santi said, “People need to know that Meaningful Use isn’t all about winning the incentives… It really comes down to the care of our kids. We learned that when a kid leaves, all their records are organized and can be sent to the next provider at the click of a button, so now they can keep getting help.”

The P.AN.D.A system is still in its infancy, with its potential being endless. But the effects of time-savings are already being seen on campus. Prior to the EMR system, if a student needed a medication, a nurse would have to physically write a prescription, send it in the mail, only to wait nearly a week before the medication arrived on campus. Today, with a click of the button, that same prescription can arrive tomorrow. Additionally, staff members who need information can access it quickly, eliminating the need to shuffle papers at the risk of human error. Case managers, when completing 90-day reports on students, have instant access to the type of medical care that a student has received.

The custom built P.AN.D.A system is designed to handle nearly all of the student records on campus. The future could see therapists completing notes within the EMR and even educational records being stored within the system. This is the future, and Woodward Academy, with the help of Sequel Youth and Family Services and Willets, has embraced it, allowing for the school and company as a whole to remain viable into the future.


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