UNC Health Care, IBM implement new interoperable, advanced EHR

The University of North Carolina Health Care System (UNC Health Care) and IBM have unveiled a new web-based system available for use by over 7,000 caregivers to access important medical information. The system is an interoperable electronic health record system dubbed ‘WebClinical Information Systems’ (WebCIS) that creates the foundation to securely deliver important information around the clock from anywhere via the internet. The system has replaced the paper chart for almost one million patients who visit UNC Health Care annually, the organizations said.

WebCIS uses the IBM Health Information Framework, which is based on industry open-standards and a service-oriented architecture (SOA) to connect information from disparate medical systems. It is also designed to provide caregivers secure, single sign-on to access multiple applications, including lab reports, medical imaging, patient phone call information, scheduling, health maintenance and disease prevention modules, electronic signature/referring provider communication and more.

Is it expected that this type of SOA approach will help UNC Health Care increase the flexibility of business process, strengthen underlying IT infrastructure and reuse IT services already deployed. It could reduce wait times for important information about patients in an emergency setting to a matter of seconds, rather than the usual 10 to 20 minute wait for a paper chart.

"Helping our caregivers gain quick and secure access to the most up-to-date medical information is critical as we continue to provide the quality care we are known for," said J.P. Kichak, CIO, UNC Health Care. "Working with IBM, UNC Health Care has been able to develop and implement an advanced web-based system that provides the tools and flexibility to handle current patient demands as well as future growth.”

With WebCIS, providers that are on-call now have full access to patient information on multiple devices, including PDAs and smart phones. Additionally, through the use of this tool, UNC Health Care is one of the first large institutions to be able to transmit prescriptions electronically in real time to participating pharmacies within the state of North Carolina and across the nation. UNC Health Care also hopes to develop a SOA-based link with a service provider to check duplicate drug, drug interaction and dosage information on outpatient-based prescriptions.