Fletcher Allen plans for electronic health records system

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(Host) The electronic age is about to arrive at Vermont’s largest hospital.

Fletcher Allen Health Care applied for state permission today to build a 57-million-dollar electronic health records system.

Hospital CEO Melinda Estes (ESS-tuhs) says the goal is to computerize as all of the patient records at Fletcher Allen.

(Estes) You will see people on the nursing units with computers being wheeled from room to room. That will be one thing. Potentially some handheld devices, as well. So the days of seeing the chart hanging outside the door will be over.

(Host) There will be a lot more that patients won’t see. Orders for medication will be filed electronically.

And the computers will automatically check to make sure dosages are right or one medicine won’t cause a bad reaction with another.

Estes says the electronic system is designed to make patient records immediately available to every health care provider in the system. And they say the records will be more consistent.

(Estes) Our goal in doing this project is to achieve new levels of quality and patient safety. So it is an incredibly important project for the organization.

There are more than 750 physicians affiliated with Fletcher Allen. So if the project is approved, more than half of the doctors practicing in Vermont would participate.

Estes says the system is designed to communicate with a network being developed for the entire safety. That would allow physicians at another hospital to be able to use records maintained at Fletcher Allen.

But the project won’t come cheap. Fletcher Allen is seeking state permission to spend more than 57 million dollars on the system.

If approved, it would take three years to complete.



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