Six months after launching its hospital electronic health record
in Tyler, the East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System
continues to use technology to coordinate local healthcare, while
helping providers improve the quality of care throughout the
"The implementation of an electronic health record in our
hospital system is truly transformational," said Paula Anthony,
ETMC vice president and chief information officer. "Everyone
benefits; physicians and clinical caregivers have access to the
information and tools they need to manage patient care like never
before." The web-based technology that drives OneChart allows
physicians to access their patients' records anytime,
anywhere. Soon, OneChart will offer a patient portal giving
patients unprecedented access to their own health information -
from any web browser.
For the past three years, ETMC physician clinics have been
integrated through a common electronic health record. In March 2012
ETMC Tyler launched OneChart, based on the nationally renowned
Siemens Soarian platform, to create a paperless, fully integrated
electronic health record for hospital patients. The OneChart system
is now being implemented in the 15 ETMC hospitals throughout the
region with ETMC Pittsburg coming on-line last month.
According to Anthony, the ETMC approach to electronic health
records mirrors the approach of the overall ETMC healthcare system:
"Our mission is to improve the quality of life in our region.
Therefore, we understand that our electronic health information
systems must be open and able to communicate with providers
throughout East Texas."
She said that's why ETMC has actively sought and successfully
achieved another important regional information technology
distinction: being one of only 13 grant recipients charged by the
state of Texas with the responsibility for developing a regional
health information exchange. Known as FirstNet Exchange, this
system will provide the means for all healthcare providers - both
within ETMC, those who are affiliated with other hospitals and
those who are completely independent - to access appropriate
healthcare information to improve coordination of medical care in
our region and eventually our state and nation, Anthony explained.
So far, more than 700 physicians and nearly 30 hospitals across the
region have signed letters of interest with FirstNet Exchange.
"Of course, while all this technology is impressive and holds
tremendous promise, we realize that it's meaningless unless it
helps people." Anthony said, offering an anecdote to illustrate the
impact of ETMC OneChart:
"Shortly after the launch of OneChart, a patient arrived at ETMC
Pittsburg suffering from an apparent stroke. The family remembered
that the patient had been at ETMC Tyler within the past month but
couldn't remember the doctor's name or the details of that
admission. Within seconds, the Pittsburg emergency department
doctors had access to the patient's record from Tyler - everything,
lab work, scans, progress notes, everything."
The sharing of data across ETMC hospitals - and eventually
across all medical providers in the region, nation and state - is
vital, according to Anthony. "Healthcare is not a static process;
people move from place to place as their healthcare needs and life
situations change. ETMC is offering an open system and is committed
to working with different providers and information platforms to
share data in a safe and secure manner. We believe this type of
inclusive philosophy puts the needs of the patient first."
And while the electronic health record allows data to be shared,
the benefits of the system don't stop there. According to Anthony,
ETMC OneChart actively assists caregivers throughout the diagnostic
and treatment process by monitoring patient care and providing
alerts and suggestions when appropriate.
"For example, the system has a five-way check system to
ensure that patients are given the right medication at the right
time, " she explained. "It also suggests tests and medications for
the doctor to review and alerts caregivers to patient allergies or
Anthony said over the past six months since the implementation
of ETMC OneChart, physicians and the clinical staff at ETMC Tyler
have come to view the electronic health record as a valuable
partner assisting in the coordination of care.
"It's an exciting time in healthcare as we harness this incredibly
sophisticated technology to improve coordination of care," Anthony
said. "While these systems represent a huge leap forward, they're
really just another way we foster regional healthcare excellence -
something we've been working to do for more than 60 years."