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Norman Regional Named Most Wired, Most Improved

Norman Regional Health System has been named one of the nation’s Most Wired, Most Improved Health System. Results for the 2009 Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study are in the July issue of Hospital & Health Networks magazine.

“We are extremely pleased to be recognized for the ongoing Information Technology (IT) efforts made by Norman Regional Health System and Senior Leadership for our commitment to providing safe, quality patient care,” states Greg Terrell, senior VP and chief operating officer. “This award represents a strategic plan that enhances patient care, increases patient safety and awareness, eliminates waste and reduces the potential for medical errors.”

Norman Regional Health System is a leader in the state when it comes to safely administering medications to inpatients. During the year, NRHS introduced bedside medication verification (BMV) for inpatients at all of the NRHS hospitals. The project, which involved multiple departments in each hospital, including nursing and pharmacy, greatly increases the safety factor for medication administration to patients.

“We are clearly ahead of the curve and one, if not the only, health system in the state that has 100% bedside medication verification for inpatient care utilizing barcode technology,” say John Meharg, Director of Health Information Technology.

“This technology utilizes the ‘5 Rights’ of medication administration; right medication, right patient, right dose, right time, and right route and will stop the process if one of the elements is not correct, therefore eliminating a medication error from occurring”, added Janet Johnson, Director of Clinical Informatics.

National studies have shown that medication administration errors account for 38 percent of medication errors and without electronic systems to monitor the process, only two percent of drug administration errors are intercepted.

”This technology catches potential errors before medication is administered to the patient, making it a much safer environment for the patient”, said Brian Yeaman, M.D. Chief Informatics Officer. “Physicians can easily see when and what type of medications were given to their patient when reviewing the electronic medical record, thus saving time for the physician and other care givers.”

The Nursing and Pharmacy staff worked together as a team to bring the system live in order to make their hospital a safer place for patients. Other projects keeping the IT team on their toes includes an electronic medical record for physician offices. The new state of the art system is already in compliance with the requirements set out in recent legislation and will allow physicians to take advantage of financial incentives being offered for electronic system adoption.

Norman Regional is also working hand-in-hand with Oklahoma City hospitals as part of a regional health information organization (RHIO) which provides the infrastructure to accomplish the development of a national health record. RHIOs facilitate implementation of health information data exchange for the purpose of improving patient safety, reducing medical errors, and improving medical management and efficiency and reducing costs for patients.

One of the more unique projects includes a partnership with a student from the University of Oklahoma. All of the Norman Regional’s ambulances now have GPS units mounted inside. Each is connected with the city’s 911 operator which makes it easier to find addresses when seconds count in an emergency. In the past paramedics had to look up addresses on a wall size city map – now addresses are literally a click away potentially making response time quicker.

This year, 556 hospitals and health systems completed the survey, representing 1,314 hospitals. The Most Wired Survey is conducted annually by Hospital and Health Networks magazine, the journal of the AHA, which uses the results to name the 100 Most Wired hospitals and health systems. It focuses on how the nation’s hospitals use information technology for patient safety and quality, customer service, business process improvement, workforce management and public health and safety.

Hospital and Health Networks conducted the 2009 survey in cooperation with McKesson Corp and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. The July H&HN cover story detailing results is available at

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Contact Kelly Wells
Norman Regional Health System

Office (405) 307.2143
Fax (405) 307.2144