Los Angeles County’s Department of Health Services is installing a new countywide electronic health record system that could be a model for health care organizations across the country.
“Our patients simply need and deserve world class technology to protect their health,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
The system, called the Online Real-time Centralized Health Information Database, or ORCHID, is the first uniform, standardized, and fully integrated electronic health record technology to be released countywide.
“Having one system will bring us together as a single integrated system,” DHS Director Mitchell Katz said.
With ORCHID, nurses will be able to use bar code technology when administering medications to patients. Bar code scanners will be available in patient rooms, allowing bedside bar code scanning. The nurse scans the bar code on the patient’s wrist and the bar coded medication label, then administers the medication. Among other benefits, the ORCHID system will help verify that the right medication was given to the right patient in the right dose at the right time.
Each patient will have a unique bar code that exists only on his or her wristband. The system alerts the nurse if the medication order is expired, discontinued or if the wrong medication is given to a patient. The bar code technology will reduce the possibility of patient care errors with every pill.
“The new system will result in improved quality of care, improved efficiency of care, and an innovative system that can serve as a model across the country,” the Supervisor said.
Recently, the pharmacy team in Los Angeles County completed the task of scanning every unique medication for the Department of Health Services pharmacies to capture the bar codes into the ORCHID database. The process, completed by hand, included 50,000 scans.
The new system will launch on November 1 at Harbor UCLA Medical Center and at the Martin Luther King Jr. Outpatient Center on February 1, 2015. The initial launch will be followed by the LAC+USC Medical Center on May 1 2015, the High Desert Regional Health Center Cluster on August 1, 2015, the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center on November 1, 2015, and the Olive View-UCLA Medical Center Cluster on February 1, 2016.
“We are dismantling the digital divide of health care that exists in our communities,” the Supervisor said.