Fletcher Allen Launches Outpatient Phase of Electronic Medical Record

BURLINGTON, VT - Fletcher Allen has successfully launched the outpatient phase of its electronic health record project, five months after implementing the inpatient phase of the project in June.

PRISM (Patient Record and Information Systems Management­), Fletcher Allen’s electronic health record, is now fully functional at Aesculapius Medical Center in South Burlington, which serves 18,000 people and is one of Fletcher Allen’s ten primary care clinics.  Providers and staff at Aesculapius are now using the system to record patient medical information and to administer medications.  By the end of 2010, all of Fletcher Allen’s outpatient clinics – both primary care and specialty care - will be “live” with PRISM.   

“We’re very pleased with the progress we’ve made during the inpatient implementation, which has enabled us to start implementing PRISM in our outpatient clinics,” said Paul Taheri, MD, MBA, President of Fletcher Allen’s Faculty Practice.  “We’re now able to offer these patients the same enhancements in safety, efficiency and coordination of care that we provide to patients admitted to the hospital,” he said.  

An electronic health record is essentially a computer system that replaces paper medical records, charts and other items with a single electronic file for each patient.  There are several key reasons health care experts believe electronic health records will improve the quality, safety and efficiency of patient care: 

  • All medical information for each patient is in one place and all providers can see it at the same time from different clinical locations, so it’s easier to coordinate care. 
    • With PRISM’s outpatient implementation, this means that medical information patients give to their Fletcher Allen primary care provider will be accessible to other members of their Fletcher Allen care team.
  • The system alerts providers about drug allergies or conflicts with patient medications making them instantly aware of potential problems.
  • Medical staff will spend less time tracking down charts, x-rays, MRIs and other information that is essential for providing timely care.    

“Electronic health record technology is a major step forward in patient care,” added Dr. Taheri. “The improvements in safety, efficiency and coordination of care will enhance quality and the overall patient experience.  This is the future of health care, and I’m proud Fletcher Allen is bringing this leading edge technology to our community,” he said.  

Fletcher Allen has joined only 1.5% of health care facilities nationwide in implementing such a comprehensive computer system for patient care*.  The system went “live” in Fletcher Allen’s inpatient areas, pharmacy, Emergency Department, and some hospital outpatient areas on the Medical Center Campus in Burlington, as well as the Walk-In Care Center and inpatient rehabilitation service at the Fanny Allen Campus in Colchester, in June 2009. 

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* According to a nationwide hospital survey published in the March 2009 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, only 10.9% of U.S. hospitals have implemented a basic Electronic Health Record, and only 1.5% have implemented a comprehensive Electronic Health Record like PRISM.   

About Fletcher Allen
Fletcher Allen Health Care, together with our partners at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, is Vermont’s academic medical center.  Our mission is to improve the health of the people in the communities we serve by integrating patient care, education and research in a caring environment.  Fletcher Allen serves as a regional referral center -- providing advanced care to approximately one million people in Vermont and northern New York -- and as a community hospital for approximately 150,000 residents in Chittenden and Grand Isle counties.  With more than 30 patient care sites and 100 outreach clinics, programs and services throughout the region, Fletcher Allen is committed to being a national model for the delivery of high-quality academic health care for a rural region.  For more information about Fletcher Allen, visit our Web site at www.fletcherallen.org.