RUGBY The Heart of America Medical Center will soon have a new technological addition to its pharmacy.
On July 21, Heart of America received a $50,000 Otto Bremer grant which will be used to purchase a Pyxis medication dispensing cabinet, explained Erik Christensen, the director of HAMC's pharmacy.
The dispenser ties into the hospital's computer system in order to distribute medications to nursing staff, Christensen said, adding that it can be used for all medications that don't need to be compounded.
Christensen noted that the dispenser is key in the event that a pharmacist is not available to do the job. That event is possible at HAMC's pharmacy, where there are only two pharmacists on staff. Also, the pharmacy is only open during a day shift, as well as a morning shift on weekends, he said.
The hospital will acquire the machine in mid-December and will be up and running shortly after.
"The system is already in place," Christensen said. "We're testing and building information into it right now."
System transfer could cause delays
RUGBY The Heart of America Medical Center will be improving its health care at its Johnson Clinics by transferring the hard copies of medical records into an electronic format.
According to Jim Potvin, clinic administrator of Heart of America Johnson Clinics, the new health care law under President Barack Obama has mandated that health care facilities move towards electronic forms by 2014. If hospitals aren't up to code by then, he added, they risk having the penalty of reduced reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid.
Potvin isn't looking at this as a task, but instead as a way that "allows for better patient care."
"Everything we put on the paper chart will be put into electronic form," Potvin said. "That database, so to speak, is shared by the hospital and clinic."
The process of transferring paper records the medical history, social history, and medication lists of patients into electronic records will cause a potential delay in service at the clinics.
A patient visit that would normally take 15 minutes could take a half hour, as staff learn to use the new system, Potvin said. "It's a learning curve for the nurses and doctors."
On average, the three Johnson Clinics they are located in Rugby, Dunseith and Maddock see about 60 patients a day. Potvin said that clinic staff are encouraged to do a minimum of two patients on the electronic medical records a day, in order to phase them into the system. As they get used to it, he said, the numbers will increase.
"We're hoping to have all of our providers using (the electronic medical records) within a month," he said. "A lot of the patients who come on a regular basis are going to be in the system."
Potvin estimated that it might take some time before everyone is in the system as there are some patients, such as middle-aged men, who only come in "once a year, if that."
He noted that the system has one very beneficial safety feature: it will make sure that medications that don't go together aren't prescribed down the road.
"That is the biggest benefit to electronic medical records," he added.