St. John Valley

NMMC launches electronic health records software

FORT KENT, Maine — After nearly two years of work and a significant investment to improve service for patients in northern Aroostook County, the Cerner program went “live” on April 12 at all Northern Maine Medical Center locations. 

The hospital switched to Cerner, a single-source electronic medical record software that offers integration and quick access to patient records for more coordinated and efficient care. NMMC’s investment in this “One Patient, One Record” software demonstrates their commitment to being a High Reliability Organization, providing the safest possible standards of quality and efficient care. The new program will streamline processes for an overall improved patient experience. 

During the transition from the old to the new software, which is anticipated to take several weeks, registrations at NMMC offices may take slightly longer than usual, and patients should plan on extra time for their appointments while staff works to enter information into the new system. Additionally, patients should bring their identifications, insurance cards, and list of medications with them to appointments. While some limited patient demographic information may have been transferred into the new system prior to a scheduled appointment, staff will be cross-checking information at check-in to ensure accuracy as part of the hospital’s commitment to safety, quality and efficiency. 

Before this software upgrade, medical records, billing, patient portals, and other hospital software were contained over multiple software platforms, none of which communicated effectively with each other. 

Using several software platforms that each stored portions of a patient’s record created a cumbersome process for clinical staff to navigate through whole patient medical records. The implementation of the new Cerner software, enhances safety and improves reliability by integrating all electronic medical records into one software platform that is capable of performing all of the same functions – and more – of the multiple programs.

What this means for the patient is that healthcare personnel will no longer have to access multiple different systems to view complete patient information, which will strengthen clinical decision-making by giving medical staff a complete overview of a patient’s medical record in one location. Patients will also notice enhancements in the form of a more centralized and smoother prior authorization process. Scheduling of appointments and diagnostic testing will be simplified and seamless. 

Another advantage of the upgrade will be a more streamlined patient portal. Currently, patients access two portals, one for inpatient and one for outpatient care. The new system portal will combine those two into one. Patients will have the ability to securely and directly update personal information through the one portal, and complete pre-visit questionnaires from the comfort of their own home. 

Eliminating data entry and providing more efficient workflows for staff with this system upgrade will improve safe patient care and make NMMC one of the most digitally integrated healthcare organizations in northern Maine.

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