Wednesday 29 December 2021: BHB today updates the community on its Electronic Medical Record Programme, which aims to replace an old, outdated clinical system that is no longer supported by the company, with the Cerner Millennium electronic medical record (EMR).
The project officially kicked off in April this year, after a year-long delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. First announced in the budget debate speech given by the Minister in March 2020, the integrated EMR at BHB will give each patient one record, no matter which BHB service they use, helping reduce duplication, delays and improve coordination of care, and access to full information for the patient and clinical team. It has the potential to have greater connectivity outside of the hospital.
Throughout 2021, about 350 staff members have been involved in the project in over 1,000 EMR workshops and meetings.
Michael Richmond, CEO & President, comments: “BHB staff and physicians have been working hard since April 2021 in order to implement our first integrated EMR. We appreciate that they have been keeping this project moving even as we have gone through the waves of the pandemic. The pressure of time is on us as our current clinical system, also from Cerner, is old and no longer supported. Implementing a full EMR as the solution will help us upgrade, and meet the standards of care expected in hospitals around the world. EMRs are a tool for staff to use in the delivery of care that puts the patient at the heart of all we do, it helps us in our mission to deliver the highest quality and safest care each day.”
Chief of Staff Dr Wesley Miller is one of the co-executive sponsors of the project. He explains: “Clinicians will use the EMR to write up their notes, review test results, make diagnoses, make referrals, prescribe medications and communicate with other people in the care team, or to other departments involved in a patient’s care. One patient, one record, wherever you go in BHB.
“It actively encourages safe care because of the safety alerts built into the system, which help clinicians make timely decisions. Someone with clinical indicators that suggest sepsis or stroke, for instance, can be immediately flagged: these are conditions in which a fast therapeutic response is critical to the outcome of patients. Medication alerts can be flagged that stop errors in doses or contraindications with other medications the patient is on.”
Bill Shields, Chief Financial Officer, is the other co-executive sponsor of the project: “We are so grateful to all the people working on this project to date as they managed the EMR commitment and the pandemic. Next year, starting in the Spring, over 1,000 staff in departments across BHB and all physicians who work within the hospital will be involved with training and testing, so the hardest part of the implementation is still ahead of us.
“We are aware that this is a big investment and would note that while we must replace an old clinical system, the EMR will replace many of our other systems, helping us integrate records with other actions such as scheduling, referrals, prescribing, and testing. Whilst the core cost of the implementation is about $30 million, when we go live we will save many millions of dollars in costs over time associated with the purchasing, updating and maintenance of many separate systems. The contract payment terms are over ten years. Of even more importance, however, is how the EMR will support our frontline staff as they strive to deliver the best care possible, and help BHB in its pursuit of excellence through improvement, to make Bermuda proud.”
Following an internal competition, BHB’s integrated EMR is now named ‘PEARL’ (Patients Electronic & Administrative Records Log) and will be used in all clinical, support and administrative areas across KEMH, MWI and Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre after it goes live next year.
Cerner’s Millennium was selected as BHB’s EMR in an RFP back in May 2019, after a vendor search and selection process that started in late 2018. A full business case to implement an EMR to replace the old clinical suite and improve the delivery of care at BHB was approved by the Board in November 2019. After the initial planned start in 2020 was postponed due to the pandemic, the EMR programme at BHB launched in April 2021. PEARL is expected to go live in fall/winter of 2022, following a major testing and training schedule for all staff.