Kids and Electronic Health Records

Boy and teddyWHAT IS AN ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORD?
An electronic health record (EHR) is a computerized collection of a patient’s health records. It includes information such as age, health history, medications, allergies, immunization status, lab test results, hospital discharge instructions and billing information. These digital records can be shared easily among a patient’s health care providers, so if one doctor orders a test, for example, all the patient’s doctors can see the results. “It has all the data that we generate around a patient’s care,” says Dr. Feaster, chief medical information officer for CHOC. “The goal is that when you come for care, all the information needed is in a computer rather than a paper chart stored somewhere.”

BENEFITS TO YOUR CHILD
“The greatest benefit now is improving the quality and safety of patient care,” says Dr. Feaster. “Through the use of electronic orders and standardized order sets, we can implement what we all agree is the best way to care for a certain disease or patient. The EHR also facilitates bar coding of medications, blood, breast milk and lab tests. This ensures that the correct drug or product is given to the correct patient, thus reducing or eliminating medical errors.”

PARENT ACCESS IS COMING
Only health care providers have had electronic access in the past. Coming soon to CHOC is a new patient portal that will allow parents to access their child’s information by computer, tablet or smartphone. “Parents will be able to request medication renewals, make appointments and perhaps other functions. They will be able to direct their medical information to other providers if they change specialists, for example. We plan to have this live by late spring or early summer and we will help parents sign up. More details will be forthcoming,” says Dr. Feaster.

FAST FACTS

  • CHOC’s ranking among hospitals nationwide for EHR use to improve health care*: TOP 11%
    *According to the Health Information and Management Systems Society
  • CHOC’S anticipated ranking by the end of 2014 after achieving HIMSS’ Top Level of EHR Adoption: TOP 2%
  • Percent of office-based physicians nationwide using some kind of EHR system in 2012: 72%

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Dr. Nguyen Pham
Dr. William Feaster
CHOC’s Chief Medical Information Officer

PHYSICIAN FOCUS: DR. WILLIAM FEASTER

Dr. Feaster completed his residency in pediatrics and anesthesiology, as well as fellowship training in neonatal-perinatal medicine, at the University of California, San Diego. He completed additional fellowship training in pediatric anesthesia and critical care at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Feaster has spent much of his career focused on information technology, helping to implement clinical and administrative systems at several health care institutions. Dr. Feaster came to CHOC Children’s in 2012 and has helped CHOC move forward with many new IT initiatives and systems that are improving care and increasing access to information.

Dr. Feaster’s philosophy of care: “Medical information is important to providing high quality,accurate, timely and safe care. My job is to help CHOC keep up with all the advances.”

EDUCATION:
M.D., University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, New York

BOARD CERTIFICATIONS:
Pediatric Anesthesiology

More about Dr. William Feaster

This article was featured in the Orange County Register on March 17, 2014, and was written by Amy Bentley.

Advancing Information Technology in Health Care

Electronic_Health_RecordElectronic health records (EHR) document a patient’s medical history, but its data and the technology behind it provide a multitude of future possibilities, says CHOC Children’s Chief Medical Information Officer.

CHOC Children’s began moving to the EHR in 2002, and more technological developments will be forthcoming at a rapid pace in the next few years, says Dr. William Feaster.

“You can never catch your breath the rate of change in healthcare information technology is so rapid,” he says. “Whether it’s because of new government mandates, regulatory requirements or clinical needs, there’s always something new and challenging around the corner. You can’t stop or you fall behind. My job is to help our organization navigate all of this change.”

CHOC’s EHR system is called “CUBS,” an acronym for Connecting Users and Building Safety and a play on the hospital’s Choco Bear mascot. Physicians are now working to find ways to better use and analyze EHR data to be proactive.

“One of our current initiatives is to take the data we collect and analyze it,” Dr. Feaster explains. “For example, an endocrinologist will soon be able to review all their patients with diabetes in his or her practice and see who has had all the right screening tests, who has made appointments and who hasn’t, and who has their diabetes under control.”

Dr. Feaster’s goal is to use data proactively. After all, an early intervention with patients who haven’t met required care guidelines can help avoid unnecessary complications, he says.

“Our goal should be to use technology to help keep all children healthy or as healthy as they can be if they have a chronic disease,” he says. “We’re trying to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and Emergency Department visits in these higher-risk populations.”

Mobility will also be an important element as information technology advances at CHOC, Dr. Feaster says.

“We’re moving to mobile technologies, just like patients and parents,” he says. “Our goal is to give the doctors and nurses more time to directly interact with patients and parents, and spend less time entering data. We want to make working at CHOC as efficient as possible so we can free up more time for clinicians to provide patient care.”

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