On May 1, the hospital joined its affiliate, Rochester General Hospital, in launching Care Connect, Rochester General Health System’s name for its new Electronic Medical Records system. Using EPIC software, Care Connect will allows doctors and technicians to access patient records, with permission, at any location. Doctors will be able to look at lab results, x-rays and a patient’s medical history at the click of a button, Dr. Arun Nagpaul, medical director at Newark-Wayne, said.

Newark-Wayne Community Hospital is connecting patients and their records virtually anywhere a patient might be seeking medical care.

On May 1, the hospital joined its affiliate, Rochester General Hospital, in launching Care Connect, Rochester General Health System’s name for its new Electronic Medical Records system. Using EPIC software, Care Connect will allows doctors and technicians to access patient records, with permission, at any location. Doctors will be able to look at lab results, x-rays and a patient’s medical history at the click of a button, Dr. Arun Nagpaul, medical director at Newark-Wayne, said.

A 2-year project, Care Connect was first installed at Rochester General last November. The $65 million project is converting the entire Rochester General Health System from a combination of independent paper-based and computer-based patient record systems to a single, fully-integrated electronic system that will significantly enhance quality and patient safety as well as the efficiency and effectiveness of care provided to all patients. Over the next 2 years, Rochester General Health System’s plan is to bring all eight of its affiliates on-board with Care Connect.

The launch of the new system at Newark-Wayne went smoothly largely due to years of planning, extensive training and testing. Doctors affiliated with Rochester General Health System have been equipped with the software to allow them to access the records as well. In addition, Rochester General Health System is partnering with Wayne County physicians to assure they have, with the patient’s explicit permission, access to the patient’s most up-to-date records to further improve clinical outcomes and quality of care. And with other hospitals in Rochester transitioning to electronic medical record technology, sharing of patient information between Systems will be greatly simplified. Physicians from throughout the Rochester Region can now access records at Newark-Wayne when needed for specific patient treatment.

“The Newark-Wayne physicians and caregivers can now access their patients’ most up-to-date information for faster information sharing and ultimately enhanced patient care,” said Mark Klyczek, president of Newark-Wayne Community Hospital. “This is another example of the quality we are able to provide as an affiliate of the Rochester General Health System.”

The system is so advance and detail oriented, Nagpaul said, even housekeeping will know which rooms need to be cleaned after a patient is discharged.

“It’s seamless,” he said.

Care Connect is a huge investment for Rochester General Health System, Nagpaul said, but also a somewhat mandated one under new health reform laws. Nagpaul said without the electronic records system, reimbursements for Medicare and Medicaid would be severely cut.

But the it is well worth the investment, Nagpaul said. Records will be kept to ensure proper care is given and help prevent medical errors. An estimated 7,000 to 10,000 deaths a year can be attributed to prescription medicine errors. These errors occur for a number of reasons, but Care Connect warns if a prescription interacts with another medication the patient is on, Nagpaul said. The system will issue a warning pop up and the doctor must then review the information to determine how to proceed.

The system can also be used to ensure patients continue recommended follow up care. At the time of discharge, Nagpaul said, Care Connect will allow them to schedule the follow up appointment with the patient’s general physician.

Any doctor who has the software can access a patient’s medical records, so should injury occur while traveling, patients can still get proper care. Nagpaul said the system will also help improve care and stop needless, unnecessary testing.

With the new system now working, patients should expect a slightly longer admissions process for their first visit as their information is plugged into the system. Nagpaul said over time, Care Connect will improve quality and care of patients and be more far more efficient.

Privacy is a top priority and protecting patient confidentiality is a major component of the Care Connect system. All of the data in the EMR is encrypted and password protected, so access to a patient’s information is strictly limited only to those who are authorized. The system also tracks who is accessing records and, fully monitored, alerts officials when abuse is suspected.

The Care Connect system is also protected against the loss of patient information through a robust back-up system that is readily available, in the event of a computer malfunction.

“This is one of the best electronic record systems,” Nagpaul said, noting Rochester General Health System is joined by other elite hospitals including Strong, Cleveland, John Hopkins and Dartmouth. “To have that kind of electronic record system available at a small community hospital like Newark-Wayne is phenomenal.”