Saint Francis Hospital recently introduced Compass, a state-of-the-art
electronic health record system. An electronic health record (EHR) is
a computerized version of a patient’s medical record. It includes
the patient’s demographics, medical history, physician notes, appointment
information, medications, drug interactions, allergies and more.
EHRs benefit patients and the medical staff in different yet compatible
ways. By phasing out hand-written instructions which may be misread or
even lost, they help to reduce medical errors and improve patient outcomes.
They provide complete and accurate information which enhances a physician’s
ability to diagnose disease. Many also offer online bill pay.
Electronic health records are portable. They can be accessed from a smartphone,
tablet, or computer—wherever you are. This can be a real benefit;
patients can find information that previously may have taken several phone
calls to discover. For example, if you forget when an appointment is or
how to take the medication your doctor prescribed, you can access the
People are also getting more involved with their health as a result of
EHRs. Many feature the ability to send automatic reminders for preventive
visits and screenings. They can help patients better manage their conditions
and participate more fully in their healthcare. Easier access to a patient’s
complete medical records means no more filling out the same paperwork
at each doctor’s or specialist’s office. And the instant availability
makes EHRs invaluable if a patient must be brought to an emergency department.
By providing information to patients though a private patient portal, they
also encourage healthier lifestyles. Patients can learn about increased
physical activity, better nutrition, avoidance of behavioral risks, and
wider use of preventative care.
By looking at a patient’s EHR, physicians and nurses can see which
diagnostic tests a patient has had, along with which treatments worked
and which didn’t. And the potential for duplicative testing or imaging
procedures is also reduced.
In 2013, the National Ambulatory Medical Care Physician Workflow Survey (www.cdc.gov/nchs/ahcd) found that close to 70 percent of physicians said that “lab and
medication reminders or alerts aided them in preventing potential patient
harm and 45 percent reported a specific EHR feature that had alerted them
to a possible medication error.”
EHRs can improve patients’ understanding of their health and provide
tips on how to stay healthy. They can also refresh a patient’s memory
by reading what the doctor discussed during the visit.
Saint Francis Hospital's new EHR gives patients access to their medical
records through the Patient Portal. For more information about the Patient
Portal, please visit