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Sanford Clinic Certified Nurse Practitioner Erika Freking (left) shows the new electronic documentation used at the clinic, which has eliminated the paper charts used at the facility.

Sanford Clinic begins electronic medical recording

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WORTHINGTON -- The same electronic medical record (EMR) system that has been in use for four years at Sanford Luverne Clinic came to the Worthington clinic this month.

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"There's a large operations team that comes out and works with (staff) for a couple weeks and helps support them," said Laurie Jensen, director of clinic operations at Sanford clinics in Adrian, Luverne and Worthington. "The ultimate goal is that we don't use a paper record anymore, so that tests and orders and prescriptions and all of those things become electronic."

Since Sanford adopted the EMR software, called Epic, about four years ago, it has been gradually implementing the program at all hospitals and clinics in the system.

Now it's Worthington's turn.

The Epic software, used widely in Minnesota and called docZ within the Sanford system, allows physicians and nurses to document each patient's visit electronically, ordering medications and seeing test results via their computers.

The program also features MySanford Chart, which allows patients to communicate electronically with their healthcare provider, view their test results, renew prescriptions and even schedule their own appointments through a secure Web site.

Another docZ tool is the After Visit Summary.

"The physician can give that to the patient and it summarizes the physician's notes for the day and any labs or testing done and a treatment plan or goals," explained Jensen.

The program went live Nov. 12 at the Sanford Worthington Clinic and should better streamline communication between a patient's healthcare team and simplify patient billing, said Holly Sieve, marketing coordinator for the Sanford Worthington hospital and clinic.

"It's adding a lot of efficiencies in communications," Jensen said. "If a patient is seen in another (Sanford) clinic, it all ties together."

Sanford is required by law to keep patients' paper files for a 10-year period of time before destroying them.

Sanford Regional Hospital Worthington has made steps toward electronic recording, too, but Jensen said it is at an earlier stage of implementation.

"If (the clinic) orders a test to be performed at the hospital they would get that electronically," she said, but the entire visit wouldn't yet be electronically recorded.

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