Patient Care is Enhanced with EMR

Patient Care is Enhanced with EMR

Electronic medical records (EMR) is a hot topic these days, as evidenced in the second presidential debate when both candidates mentioned the benefits EMR brings to the health care system. Locally Sutter Health and Kaiser Permanente are at the forefront of converting to EMR. Likewise Empire College is expanding its curriculum to continue to meet the needs of local employers who hire Empire’s graduates as clinical medical assistants, medical administrative assistants, medical insurance billers, and transcriptionists.

Earlier this year Empire’s Career Placement Department conducted a survey of 160 medically-related companies it works with in the North Bay to explore the various software programs used in organizations that have already implemented, or plan to implement, EMR. That data has been used to incorporate EMR training into the College’s HIPAA coursework and prepare students for the realities of employment in today’s health care field.

Some of the benefits of EMR include the patient’s record always being accessible, clear and legible, and consistent – all of which ultimately increase the speed and accuracy of communication with patients throughout the care-giving process from initial office visit to prescription refills. Empire College graduate employees and externs have played an integral role in Sutter Health’s conversion to EMR, along with the delivery of other services required of administrative and clinical medical assistants. Medical assistants’ responsibilities are varied, challenging and fulfilling, ranging from rooming patients to surgical assisting to chart abstraction and medical billing.

“We really depend on our medical assistants here at Sutter,” says Dr. Steve Wolf, family practice medicine physician and chairman physician champion of the EMR project. “We utilize all of our medical assistants’ skills and would be hard pressed to find RNs who could do a better job. Currently all but one of our medical assistants are Empire graduates. They were well prepared to handle the variety and fast pace of our offices.”

An added component of Empire College’s programs is the opportunity for students to develop skills through project-based, experiential learning. In December they will partner with Sutter Health to deliver approximately 1,000 flu vaccinations at an on-campus clinic, one of nine locations in Sonoma County.

“The missions of Empire College and Sutter Health are very much in alignment,” says Dr. Wolf. “We are committed to fulfilling community needs one person, one family, at a time.”