BAR HARBOR — It has been 18 months in the making but, beginning this week, the Mount Desert Island Hospital system will be operating under a unified electronic medical record platform.
From the emergency department to medical imaging and to its satellite clinics across the island, patients and their providers can now view medical information in one place.
Prior to the launch, the MDI Hospital had nine different record systems across its departments, explained President and CEO Chrissi Maguire, and none of them were compatible with the other.
According to Maguire, the hospital administration and its board of directors identified the need for a unified medical record platform as a top priority for the nonprofit hospital system in 2020, but due to the prohibitive cost of a fully-integrated system, the hospital had all but given up. However, a chance conversation with another small, rural hospital that was making a move to a less expensive platform reignited the goal.
Maguire said that MDI Hospital joined with a number of rural hospitals across the state and was able to leverage their collective resources to purchase a platform that was designed with smaller hospitals in mind. The Cerna Community Works electronic health record platform, said Maguire, “is specifically designed to meet the needs of critical access and community hospitals.”
Beginning this week, all new appointments will be done through the medical records platform and patients will have access to their available medical information via a web portal.
The move will also allow information to travel more readily, said Maguire, which will be good news to patients who are on MDI part of the year and seek medical care elsewhere the rest of the year.
According to Maguire, the launch was about 22,000 staff hours in the making, requiring work from more than 100 employees. However, all 500 employees within the system will be affected by the switch and will have to learn how to use the new system.