Wednesday, September 28, 2011 11:53 AM

Historic moment as Community switches to electronic health records

Community Medical Centers implemented a state-of-the-art electronic medical record system starting Sept. 28, which is designed to enhance care and service to patients. Now there is one record for each patient in one electronic location, usable by all of those who provide medical care within the Community network.

Community Regional Emergency Department staff, Mikey Ragsdale, RN, Marci Salles, RN, Racquel Rodriguez, RN and unit clerk Vixay Phonxoylinkham log on to view new electronic patient records minutes after the system officially goes "live."

Community replaced the paper medical charts with a new, computerized medical record system in all of its inpatient care centers, outpatient clinics, labs, imaging centers and at two of its hospitals, Community Regional Medical Center and Clovis Community Medical Center.

Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital, which has been using computerized patient charting for some time, will be making the transition to the new system in 2012. The clinical information system has been in use at the Deran Koligian Care Center clinic on the Community Regional campus, since January 2011.

Patients in the hospital may notice a computer on wheels in their room and nurses typing on a keyboard rather than writing on paper in a clipboard as they record heart rate, blood pressure and medication information.

For Community’s patients, the change means:

  • All patient information will be stored in one electronic place.
  • Once patients provide information on their past medical history and medications, they won’t have to give that information again, only verify the information at return visits or during follow ups in the clinic.
  • Immediate access to vital information on allergies, medications, test results and X-rays is available with just a few clicks on the computer.
  • Increased efficiency helps reduce needless testing and gives caregivers more time to focus on expediting treatment.
  • Privacy is enhanced by limiting access to patient records and password protecting it.

Community is ahead of the curve nationally in implementing what will soon be mandated by federal health reforms. Hospitals here in Fresno and Clovis are joining the ranks of prestigious hospitals like Stanford University Medical Center and Cleveland Clinic, which have installed a similar system and have already used it to reduce the time patients spend in the hospital and enhance patient safety.

Erin Kennedy reported this story. She can be reached at