Improving clinical documentation: introduction of electronic health records in paediatrics
Medical records are crucial facet of a patient's journey. These provide the clinician with a permanent record of the patient's illness and ongoing medical care, thus enabling informed clinical decisions. In many hospitals, patient medical records are written on paper. However, written notes are liable to misinterpretation due to illegibility and misplacement. This can affect the patient's medical care and has medico-legal implications. Electronic patient records (EPR) have been gradually introduced to replace patient's paper notes with the aim of providing a more reliable record-keeping system. It is perceived that EPR improve the quality and efficiency of patient care. The paediatric department at Queen's Hospital Burton uses a mix of paper notes and computerised medical records. Clinicians primarily use paper notes for admission clerking, ward rounds, ward reviews and outpatient clinic consultations. Laboratory tests, imaging results and prescription requests are executed via the EPR system. Documentation by nurses is also carried out electronically. We aimed to improve and standardise clinical documentation of paediatric admissions and ward round notes by developing electronic proforma for initial paediatric clerking, ward rounds and patient reviews. This quality improvement project improved clinical documentation on the paediatric wards and enhanced patient record-keeping, boosted clinical information-sharing and streamlined patient journey. It fulfilled various generic multidisciplinary record keeping audit tool standards endorsed by the Royal College of Physicians by 100%. We undertook a staff survey to investigate the opinion before and after implementing the electronic health record. Doctors, nurses and healthcare support workers overwhelmingly supported the quality, usefulness, completeness of specified fields and practicality of the electronic records.
- Paediatrics