Concord Hospital Achieves New Goals in Using Information Technology to Improve Care

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Published on December 01, 2014

Concord Hospital Achieves New Goals in Using Information Technology to Improve Care

Concord Hospital has achieved an important goal in using information technology to help improve treatment and safeguard patients.

The 2009 economic stimulus law included a program to encourage healthcare providers to make more use of health information technology, such as electronic health records.

The effort, called “Meaningful Use,” provides incentive payments for hospitals and providers who meet certain stringent performance goals.

As a leader in health information technology, Concord Hospital and its Concord Hospital Medical Group (CHMG) providers achieved the first stage of the program in 2011, and were awarded $4 million in incentives by showing they had implemented methods designed to gather and share medical information among patients and their healthcare providers.

The Hospital has successfully completed the requirements required by the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the second stage of the program and will receive $1.2 million incentives while accomplishing improvements in patient care. As of November 5, 2014 only 17 percent of eligible hospitals in the country have been able to meet the Meaningful Use standard. CHMG providers in the office practices are on track to achieve the same goal later this fall.

As part of the achievement, Concord Hospital developed a standardized process for providing patients medication and treatment information in discharge reports as they are being released from the Hospital. The medication information is compiled through a new electronic medication reconciliation process that accurately lists updated medication information.

The information is available electronically to patients through the secure Patient Connect online portals on Concord Hospital’s website. A patient's medical providers in the community have access to the information through the Hospital's state-of-the-art electronic health record system. The Hospital also can send information electronically at the time of transfer to other facilities or to Concord Regional Visiting Nurse Association.

“Medication reconciliation is the Holy Grail of patient care,” said Dr. Paul Clark, Concord Hospital’s Chief Medical Information Officer. “It’s very difficult to achieve but the new electronic process is helping.”

To develop its program, Concord Hospital hired three pharmacists and a medication history specialist. As part of the effort, patients in the Emergency Department or those being admitted to the Hospital are interviewed about their current medications allowing the Hospital to prepare a detailed, accurate list. The information helps prevent potentially harmful interactions between medicines and ensures the patient receives the correct type and dose of medication. Adding these important resources was focused on improved medication safety, not just achieving Meaningful Use.

Patients receive the medication list and detailed treatment plans as part of their new standard discharge instructions when they leave the Hospital – either to go home or to other treatment facilities.

“We went from a very non-standard discharge process that was done differently for every service and differently by different providers to an electronic system that provides all of the information the same way,” Dr. Clark said. “It’s providing an obvious improvement in patient care.”

The improvements also include discharge nurses, who help reconcile medications in the outpatient record and make sure follow-up care and tests are initiated without delay.

“We’ve had instances where the patient was called while still in the Hospital to schedule a follow-up visit,” Dr. Clark said.

Media Contact

Public Affairs
Concord Hospital
250 Pleasant St.
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 227-7000, ext. 4215