UWG Converts Student Medical Files to Electronic Records

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The University of West Georgia recently updated its medical software by turning all existing paper medical charts into electronic records. This change benefits students, faculty and staff at the university in numerous ways.

The conversion was made possible by a software donation from Greenway Medical Technologies, a Carrollton-based health solutions provider.

The new system will be on display at a ceremony recognizing the Greenway gift on Thursday, Nov. 11 at 12 p.m. at the Alumni House on the UWG campus. After a light lunch and remarks by UWG and Greenway leaders, the event will shift to the Health Services center for a demonstration of how the software works.

Leslie Cottrell, director of UWG Health Services, said that the conversion to electronic records decreases the need to hunt for separate pieces of paper to follow up on students’ health needs.

“All students’ medical information is now contained in one format from the time they enter the university through 10 years after they leave,” said Cottrell. “If a student returns for a second degree, the former chart will be easily activated back into ‘active.’ ”

Each patient now has a “facesheet” that can list chronic medical conditions, medicines and allergies, improving Health Services’ ability to better treat each patient.

“We can also flag charts for students who need reminders [for medical needs, such as] immunizations,” Cottrell said.

Other benefits include an increase in the security of confidential medical information and instant authorization for sports medicine, which allows prescriptions to be filled for injured UWG athletes at away games. The new system also benefits the Health Services staff’s efficiency and productivity.

“More time is spent on direct patient care because the paper trail is eliminated,” said Cottrell. “Also, not having a room full of paper charts frees up space for other projects.”

The new system additionally enables Health Services to populate the entire student body with one click of a mouse, and has recently been utilized during flu inoculations. And each new student attending UWG will benefit from the system as well.

“We get 2,700 new patients each August with the freshman class,” Cottrell said. “We are able to construct charts for all the new patients before they come to us, through their UWG identification numbers, so we are ready when they arrive.”

The efficiency of the new system also allows for an increase in the number of patients that can be seen each day.