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SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center became the first hospital in the St. Louis metro area and third children’s hospital across the country to receive a Stage 7 designation, the highest electronic health care award from HIMSS Analytics, the research division of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

Stage 7 represents attainment of the highest level on the HIMSS Electronic Medical Records Adoption Model, which is used to track electronic medical record progress at hospitals and health systems around the nation and world.

This designation puts SSM Cardinal Glennon in the top 1.9 percent of hospitals nationwide in terms of electronic medical record use.

Reaching Stage 7 means that all records at a hospital or clinic are electronic, giving caregivers instant computer access to patient information no matter their location, eliminating reliance on paper records and reducing the number of preventable errors that can be made using traditional manual systems. In addition, hospitals that have attained Stage 7 are able to share patient information with other health care providers, which can ultimately improve patient care and safety. Hospitals with a comprehensive electronic health record system in place also allows caregivers to automatically cross-check medications against other prescribed drugs, diagnoses and lab results, and suggest possible changes in treatment.

“Achieving Stage 7 is a validation of SSM’s long standing intent to assure our patients and health care providers that they will have all the information they need to make critical decisions whenever and wherever the patient is seen at SSM,” said Rick Vaughn, MD, chief medical information officer at SSM Health Care. “I am extremely proud of the teams of clinicians and information technology specialists that have worked together for so long and so hard to achieve this goal. Their dedication is a shining example of our mission.”

HIMSS Analytics developed the electronic medical record Adoption Model in 2005 as a methodology for evaluating the progress and impact of electronic medical record systems for hospitals in the HIMSS Analytics Database. There are eight stages (0-7) that measure a hospital’s implementation and utilization of information technology applications. The final stage, Stage 7, represents an advanced patient record environment. The validation process to confirm a hospital has reached Stage 7 includes a site visit by an executive from HIMSS Analytics and former or current chief information officers to ensure an unbiased evaluation of the Stage 7 environments.

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