Baptist Health Is 1st Local Health System in Jacksonville, FL, to Go Entirely “Paperless” through Electronic Medical Record and Other Digital Technologies

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Baptist Health of Northeast Florida is the first local health system to go entirely paperless with a systemwide electronic medical record in Jacksonville, FL, and has long been a leader in clinical technologies. All 5 of our hospitals, our primary care offices, our pharmacies, home health and other services are now connected by one EMR platform, called SHIELD.

The Command Center, providing support for EMR users at Baptist Medical Center and Wolfson Children's Hospital

Clinical technologies investments such as our digital imaging system and electronic medical records system have been Baptist Health’s focus for 10 years. With the Go-Live of the EMR at Baptist Downtown and Wolfson, we have realized a dream.

On February 25, 2012, thousands of physicians, nurses, medical records professionals and other staff became part of the implementation of full electronic medical records at Baptist Medical Center Downtown and Wolfson Children’s Hospital. This helped Baptist Health meet a goal it has been committed to for more than nine years: a systemwide EMR that spans not only its local community hospitals, but also its primary care centers, Baptist Health-affiliated specialty physician practices, labs, radiology services and pharmacies. The program, which was named by a Baptist Health employee, is SHIELD, or “Safe Health Information and Electronic Data.”

Baptist Medical Center South opened in 2005 as one of the nation’s first all-digital hospitals, and the first in the Northeast Florida region. Baptist Medical Center Beaches and Baptist Medical Center Nassau followed, implementing EMR at their hospitals. By far the largest implementation, and most complex, was at Baptist Health’s flagship hospital, Baptist Medical Center Downtown, led by President Michael Mayo, and the region’s only pediatric referral center, Wolfson Children’s Hospital, led by President Michael Aubin.

“In 2003, it was the vision of our leadership and the Board of Directors that we would implement a systemwide EMR in 2003 because we recognized, even back then, the many advantages of electronic medical records over paper records,” says Hugh Greene, president and CEO of Baptist Health. “These include enhanced patient safety, improved clinical outcomes, prevention of medication errors and better security of records.”

“We are excited to bring this new technology to all of Baptist Health, for the benefit of our patients, and to see this effort of so many years coming to fruition,” says John Wilbanks, chief operating officer of Baptist Health.

Baptist’s commitment to implementing advanced digital platforms at its hospitals and other facilities has been part of the health system’s strategic goals for a long time. “Clinical technologies investments such as our digital imaging system and electronic medical records system have been Baptist Health’s focus for 10 years,” Roland Garcia, chief information officer. “With the Go-Live of the EMR at Baptist Downtown and Wolfson Children’s, we will finally have realized a dream, one we will continue to improve upon.”

On February 25, 2012, Baptist Health became officially paperless systemwide. This date began what is called Stage 2 of EMR Go-Live for Baptist Health (Stage 1 last summer involved improving EMR functionalities at the community hospitals at South, Beaches and Nassau), which will last until April 27. Physicians and staff at Baptist Downtown and Wolfson Children’s Hospital continue to be supported around the clock for a period of time by SuperUsers (clinical staff who have extensive training and expertise in the new EMR), trainers, Information Services staff, and Clinical Effectiveness and Healthcare Informatics nurses (clinicians who have special training in clinical information technology).

“The commitment, time and effort that our physicians systemwide have invested have made this clinical transformation possible, beginning with their adoption of the EMR at Baptist South, and later, at Baptist Beaches and Baptist Nassau,” says Chief Medical Officer Keith Stein, MD. “A number of our physicians have provided input into the design of this EMR that is unique to Baptist Health, and many have trained on the system for hours. They are ready, like our staff and leadership, to embrace the future of healthcare technology. They know and appreciate that this is what is best for their patients and ours.”

Chief Nursing Officer Diane Raines says the staff, too, is excited about the success of the Stage 2 implementation. “This has been truly a health system effort since we are being supported by not only experts on the Baptist Downtown and Wolfson campus, but also by experienced users of the EMR from our community hospitals that include physicians, nurses and others,” she says. “We thank every physician and every employee systemwide for their commitment to our SHIELD EMR program.”

Baptist Health has long been a leader in information technology, and has been named twice to the InformationWeek 500 as one of the nation’s most innovative users of technology. In 2006, after the 2005 opening of Baptist South as one of the country’s first all-digital hospitals, Baptist Health’s Chief Information Officer Roland Garcia was named as a Premier 100 IT Leader by ComputerWorld. Recently, Garcia was named one of the Top 25 CIOs in the nation by InformationWeek for his leadership in implementing state-of-the-art clinical technologies throughout 1,044-bed Baptist Health, with five hospitals, a primary care network, pharmacies and other ancillary services.


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Vikki Mioduszewski
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