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Electronic Medical Record

The War on Error:
How computerized Orders and Medication Scanning can virtually eliminate mistakes.

At other hospitals, a sleeping patient or a tiny baby can’t tell the nurse that a medication dose is meant for the person in the next bed, or that it was just given by someone else.


At DMC hospitals, our Computer Order and Medication Scanning system electronically checks to makes sure: Right Patient. Right Dose. If not, an electronic alarm will alert the caregiver. No other hospital in the area can match DMC’s ability to catch and prevent these dangerous errors.


Throughout southeast Michigan, only one hospital system is fully-implemented: Only the Specialty Hospitals of the Detroit Medical Center.


How do you put an adult-size barcode wristband on a premature child who weighs less than a pound?

You don’t. When the DMC implemented its new EMR system, our smallest patients created some of our largest challenges. So, top DMC docs worked with IT professionals to develop a wristband to assure infants are part of DMC’s 100% electronic ordering and medication scanning system.

The problem was developing a barcode small enough to be put on a preemie’s wristband, but large enough to be read by our barcode scanners. Instead of a conventional inch-long barcode, we adopted a small sunburst design called an “Aztec,” less than a quarter-inch in diameter, which can be read by a scanner a foot away. (We also had to ensure that the new wristbands could withstand the rigors of a newborn’s day. Experimentation led us to a material that could pass both the “thumb sucking test” and the “wet diaper test.”)

It’s what helped DMC win the 2009 INNOVATOR award from Healthcare Informatics Magazine.


100% Computerized Doctor Orders
Today, at 99 percent of American hospitals, doctors are still writing medication orders out by hand. Nurses and pharmacists are still puzzling them out, spending precious time going back and forth to make sure the order is correct. At the DMC, that order is entered electronically – in every hospital. 100% Computerized Doctor Orders: no paper orders, anywhere, anytime.

Today, nurses at most hospitals are constantly reviewing a paper file, to try to make sure they are delivering medication safely. At the DMC, all medications are ordered electronically, and are triple-scanned at the bedside; verifying the patient, the medication and the provider, to ensure that “right drug, right dose, right patient, right time” is the standard of care, not just a lofty goal.

EMR at DMC is a powerful part of our overall recognition for Safety and Innovation, with recent awards including the Leapfrog Top Hospital Awards for Safety and Quality, Hospital & Health Network’s MOST WIRED Hospital Award, An IT Best Practices award from Computerworld and a Gold E-Healthcare Leadership Award.

Click here to see the latest DMC ad on 100% Computerized Order Entry.

100% Medication Scanning
Scanners are everywhere, from the airport to your local grocery checkout. A typical hospital administers over 1,000 medications a day. So why aren’t hospitals scanning medications before they give them to you? Now somebody does: the Detroit Medical Center.

The Detroit Medical Center is the first and only Michigan hospital with 100% medication scanning. In all DMC hospitals, our nurses bring barcode scanners to your bedside, linked to your doctor’s computerized orders. They scan your patient wristband, and then scan your medication, so the computer verifies that it’s the right patient, right medication and right dose – every time, to safeguard patients from human mistakes.

So if you want a hospital with wooded walking trials or a day spa, go somewhere else. Just don’t expect the latest in patient safety technology. Because 100 percent medication scanning is only at the DMC.

Click here to see the DMC's television ad for 100% Medication Scanning.

The Bottom Line on Patient Safety
We’ve spent years investing in our EMR technology, testing it, developing it, working with every level of clinical and technical expert in our system. We’re ready to tell the rest of the world what our clinicians and tech wizards know already: The future of healthcare is happening now at the DMC, and that future is better, safer care for every patient that comes through our doors.

DMC Named "Most Wired" for Third Consecutive Year
For the third consecutive year, Detroit Medical Center has been named to the nation’s MOST WIRED list, according to the results of the 2009 Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study released in the July issue of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine which has named the 100 Most Wired hospitals and health systems since 1999. The Most Wired Survey is conducted annually by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine, which uses the results to name the 100 Most Wired hospitals and health systems. It focuses on how the nation’s hospitals use information technologies for quality, customer service, public health and safety, business processes and workforce issues.

The news is spreading
Click the links below to read about industry coverage and recognition on our EMR system.

DMC Beats Johns Hopkins as National Leader in EMR Innovations - Healthcare Informatics
Doctor Uses EHR to Help Patient Understand Care - Modern
DMC Using Computers to Verify Meds -

EMR Adoption Model

Click here to see some of the other quality awards DMC has earned for EMR, and beyond.

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