Electronic Medical Records Coming to Medical Center Hospital

By: Haley Burks
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - The days of trying to decipher a doctor's sloppy handwriting are almost over, Medical Center Hospital is working on becoming completely electronic.

"In grade school I made A's in handwriting, but not so much anymore. When you are dealing with electronic medical records it's all typed," Dr. Joel Adams, said.

The age of handwritten doctors orders and prescriptions is coming to a close at Medical Center Hospital.

"This last piece that isn't electronic yet is the doctor's order and they fax it to the pharmacy. So this will be the electronic component of getting it in that way," Gary Barns, Chief Information Officer at Medical Center Hospital, said.

It is called computerized physician order entry, and officials tell NewsWest 9, it will provide faster and more efficient care for patients.

"There will not be any issue of legibility and that is a big issue right now," Barns explained.

With the help of reimbursements over the next few years from a government stimulus program, the hospital hopes to complete its electronic medical records system next year.

"We would have done this regardless of stimulus money in our plan anyway for the 2010 fiscal year," Barns said.

"It's easy and quickly available and I get to it right away, and if I want to copy it I can print it out," Adams said.

Adams explained it's a process that will continue as paper becomes the past.

"This is really never ending, it will continue to evolve forever, but it's a great step, I don't think anyone would disagree," Adams said.