Spencer Hospital Converting Health Record System; Early Arrival for Appointments Suggested

posted on Thursday, February 18, 2021 in General

Spencer Hospital is converting to a new electronic health record on March 1, which could result in non-care related service delays in some instances for a short period of time.

“It’s typical for a hospital to periodically complete a comprehensive update of its information technology system, to include its electronic medical record,” said Spencer Hospital president Bill Bumgarner.  “Preparations for this transition have been occurring for over a year.  On March 1 the actual change from the old system to the new system will occur.”

Bumgarner said that during the first couple weeks of the transition, some patient registration processes and other systems that are highly reliant on computerization could be slower than normal as the healthcare team becomes more familiar with the new system’s functionality.  Additionally, extra steps will be taken to ensure the accuracy of each patient’s demographic and insurance information.

“While the hospital is making plans to minimize process delays as much as possible, it’s suggested to arrive 30 minutes prior to an appointment to help ensure timely access to a test or procedure as scheduled,” said Bumgarner.  “I think we can all relate to the learning curve that occurs when adapting to a new computer system based on experiences in our own work and personal lives.” 

Ed Meyer, Spencer Hospital director of Information Technology, says that though the conversion project is complex, he values the benefits the new electronic health records will provide.  The hospital is adopting the same electronic health record as Avera, the health system used by most patients when seeking local family medicine services and also higher levels of care not offered in Spencer.

“Our information technology team has been working on conversion project preparation for more than a year,” Meyer shared. “In recent months, nearly all hospital personnel have been involved in training to learn new systems prior to the March 1 transition.

“I remind myself and others frequently that we’re making a meaningful change to better serve our patients.  The continuity of care for each of our patients, to include convenient access to personal healthcare information through a common patient portal, will be enhanced by Spencer Hospital utilizing the same electronic health record as Avera Medical  Group Spencer, Avera McKennan Hospital and Avera physician specialists in Sioux Falls.”

In addition to Spencer Hospital, Northwest Iowa ENT will also be implementing the new health record system on March 1.

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