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New EHR system lets rural health system boost population-health oversight

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Hospitals & Health Networks reports on how Coteau des Prairies Health Care System, in South Dakota,  improved its population-health capabilities by fixing its EHR system

The 25-bed acute care system, based in Sisseton, had  “limited staff, burdensome administrative tasks and low satisfaction among providers and patients,” H&HN reported. But a new CEO, Michael Coyle,  started by bringing on a new leadership team and looking at various departments.

“His team asked staff and one another a number of questions: Are there standard operational procedures? Did patients trust the staff? What was the culture like at Coteau des Prairies? And did everyone in the system smile?

“During their review, Coyle and his team heard concerns again and again about the electronic health record system in place. One member of the staff went as far as to describe it as a ‘rock pile,’ Coyle said. He discovered that the EHR wasn’t set up correctly and wasn’t being used by any providers, and that the data didn’t exist.”

Within six months, Coteau des Prairies had a new EHR.

“Coteau des Prairies now has 100 percent physician usage of its EHR, a percentage that Coyle says he has not achieved in any system he’s worked at before. Provider trust has also improved. Many of the clinicians travel to multiple clinics, and the new system allows for records to be readily accessed across locations.

“The data collected by the new EHR have created a picture of the health needs of the population served by Coteau des Prairies. If any condition is 30 percent higher than the system’s average, Coyle and his team re-evaluate how they’re allocating physician hours across the system.”

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