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New Emergency Room System Safer for Patients, Cuts Paperwork

New Britain [January 16 2006] - The Emergency Department at New Britain General Hospital has gone digital. Gone is the large whiteboard that lists incoming and outgoing patients and their status, still typically found in most emergency rooms.

It’s been replaced by two, giant LCD screens that tie into a new, high-tech system designed to increase patient safety and cut down on paperwork.
“This new system is really incredible,” said Jeffrey Finkelstein, M.D., head of the emergency department, “and it’s the patients who truly benefit, through increased accuracy, speed, and the many safeguards the system offers.”

Known as EmpowER, the $1 million system runs primarily off 35 computer work stations located throughout the Emergency Department, which last year, saw over 60,000 patients.

The system saves times, cuts down on paperwork, and reduces potential errors by putting things like standing orders and guidelines for specific medical conditions right at the physicians’s fingertips. In addition, it compares these with an individual’s specific medical condition.

“For example, a patient might arrive with a suspected case on pneumonia,” Finkelstein explained. “Automatically, based on the suspected diagnosis, the system would prompt the physician to order certain diagnostic tests, as well as indicate which medications might be recommended for treatment. It would automatically alert the physician if the patient is on a medication that might pose a conflict.”

The system periodically prompts physicians to check for test results, to help get patients treated more quickly.

In addition to the benefits of assisting care providers with diagnoses, testing, and orders, there are benefits for patients even after they leave the emergency room.

“As you are bring discharged and your prescriptions are being printed out by the system, all the pertinent information for your follow-up care is being sent to your primary care physicians, or the specialist you will follow up with, via fax or a secure encrypted email, so they have the latest and most relevant information,” Finkelstein explained.

The patient also gets written discharge instructions—which can be printed in Spanish or Polish.

Even physicians at other healthcare facilities have been impressed with EmpowER.
“We referred a patient to another facility,” Finkelstein said, “and one of the doctors there called to say they had never seen such a well organized and complete medical chart.”

Contact: Helayne Lightstone, 860-224-5470 or 860-224-5695

HCC Corporate Communications
(860) 224-5695 • Fax (860) 224-5779