Living up to our technology promise

Our CEO, Dr. Elaine Batchlor, and our CIIO, Tracy Donegan, recently had occasion to share some exciting news: the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) has awarded our hospital the highest level of electronic medical record system use—Stage 7. Only 6.4% of hospitals in the United States reached Stage 7 this past year.

Implementing an electronic health record (EHR), as it’s more commonly known, was a strategic choice for MLKCH from the beginning. Even before our hospital was opened, a highly integrated EHR system was envisioned as an essential tool for delivering on the promise of quality care.

“Our information technology is a foundational component of the hospital’s ability to deliver on its mission to provide compassionate, collaborative, quality care and improve the health of our community,” – Dr. Elaine Batchlor, CEO, Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital

Take medication, for example. Medication errors are one of the highest risk factors in hospitals. At MLKCH, patients’ medications and dosages are bar-coded and matched to their electronic health record. Before administering a medication, nurses scan the barcode to ensure a match. Our EHR helps us achieve our goal of quality patient care.

With an EHR at Stage 7, the hospital can also coordinate patient health information with all a patient’s providers, reducing the need for patients to travel to unnecessary or repetitive appointments, and creating a collaborative, connected system of care.

In South Los Angeles—where our community has too few doctors and too many barriers to healthcare access—increasing communication and collaboration among geographically spread-out providers, sharing information about test results and discharge information can help ensure the right diagnosis and follow-up care for patients.

“Getting to Stage 7 is a tremendous achievement,” said Tracy Donegan, Chief Information and Innovation Officer of MLKCH. “But our technical innovations aren’t in place for bragging rights. They’re strategic investments that allow us to deliver truly high-quality care.”

In announcing the Stage 7 validation to the hospital’s leadership, Regional Director North America, HIMSS Analytics Philip Bradley said, “MLKCH is a shining example of what an organization can achieve if they have the team, support, and dedication. We were impressed with their focus on improving clinical quality for the community they serve.”