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MUSC Medical Links Charleston Links Archives Catalyst Advertisers Seminars and Events Research Studies Public Relations Research Grants MUSC home page Community Happenings Campus News Applause


Electronic health records reduce medical errors, ensure patient safety

Electronic health records (EHR) are expected to reduce medical errors and bring down costs while ensuring privacy, yet the number of health care professionals in the nation who have begun the transition is small.


In July, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary announced final rules to help improve Americans’ health through the expanded use of EHR. Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009, eligible health care professionals and hospitals can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments when they adopt certified EHR technology and use it to achieve specified objectives.


The incentive programs, beginning next year, are designed to support health care professionals during this period of transition. Incentives are available for only a limited time, and the legislation includes financial penalties for those who fail to achieve meaningful use of an EHR for Medicare patients by 2015.


The South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium (AHEC) will host four regional conferences for health care professionals and their staff members to offer information about EHR and health information technology, federal expectations, and health information technology resources in the state. There is no cost to attend these half-day conferences. The first is scheduled for Sept. 17 in Greenville, while the conference closest to Charleston is in Walterboro on Nov. 19.


 “The use of electronic health records has the potential to markedly improve the way health care is provided in the future,” said David Garr, M.D., South Carolina AHEC executive director. “The South Carolina AHEC is pleased to assist with this important initiative.”

For more information and registration forms, visit\

MUSC's Road to Automation

MUSC Health was an early adopter of clinical automation having implemented systems to ancillary areas such as laboratory, pharmacy and radiology, as well as establishing a Clinical Data Repository and Clinical Results Viewer. The practice plan began using clinical automation in Family Medicine and Primary Care as early as 1995.

In 2004, the decision was made to expand the use of the ambulatory EHR system into other departments. Two years later, the Information Technology focus shifted to inpatient settings, where the implementation of a cluster of closed-looped medication modules (Pharmacy Management, Medication Administration, Clinical Documentation and Physician Order Entry) was started. This implementation will be completed by December.

Frank Clark, Ph.D., chief information officer, said that MUSC Hospital Authority is one of 128 hospital organizations that has received recognition by the Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) for reaching Stage 6 of its electronic medical record adoption model, joining such institutions as Vanderbilt, Emory, Brigham & Women’s, Wake Forest and Mayo Clinic.

Friday, Sept. 10, 2010

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.