Erlanger Launches New Medical Record System

By Blaine Kelly

While Erlanger Health System rolls out a new multi-million dollar electronic medical record system to improve communications about patient care between physicians and other medical personnel, out of town technical support teams participate in helping local economy by purchasing items in local stores, attractions, lodging spaces and restaurants during their stay. 

In May, Erlanger went live with the first phase of its new electronic medical record (EMR) called eCHART in all outpatient areas. The health system’s goal with eCHART is to unify the EMR used throughout the system to allow for a better continuum of care and patient experience.   Since October and the second go live phase in inpatient service areas, Erlanger has fully integrated the EMR system providing a complete picture of medical care from admission to discharge.

The new EMR offers medical associates a one patient one chart framework allowing all medical providers from primary care to specialists and other medical services to see the patient’s records and medical history enabling safer and more accurate care to the patient.  

The work to upgrade Erlanger’s EMR and equipment not only enhances patient experience, the impact also reaches far beyond the walls of the health system.

During the implementation, Erlanger had an additional 750 consultants working on the implementation for “elbow support.” Many of the consultants traveled with their families to Chattanooga, visited area attractions, ate meals at many of the restaurants and stayed in hotels, helping to bolster the local economy. Much of the technical support group stayed in Chattanooga for one week, 650 of those remained 30 days while 60 have been in Chattanooga since Dec 2016.

“For the short amount of time the support staff stayed in the Chattanooga area, the influx of our technical support made an impact of well over $2 million to our local economy,” said Dave Peterson, Erlanger Health System’s Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. 

Each associate was given $160 per diem for meals, not including transportation and lodging. Just in one week, 750 technical consultants for the eCHART project infused $840,000 into Chattanooga’s economy during their stay.  The 60 consultants who have remained in Chattanooga since the first go live event in May have provided an additional $1.7 million to Chattanooga. 

“Our technical support is extremely fortunate to not only provide the hands on expertise that is need for a successful EMR implementation at Erlanger but to also visit and live in a city that has so many opportunities to participate in area activities while they are working here.  We hope many of them will come back to experience what Chattanooga has to offer during vacations and other employment opportunities,” added Peterson.