Sentara Healthcare builds EHR feature to screen newborns for inherited diseases  

Sentara Norfolk (Va.) General Hospital, part of Sentara Healthcare, developed an automated program within its EHR to screen newborns for inherited diseases, Inside Business reports.

Heike Nicks, a registered nurse at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, spearheaded a clinical and IT team to build the program through Sentara's existing EHR, which saved the hospital $610,000, according to the report.

The feature supports secure electronic messaging between the hospital's providers and Virginia's state lab. Some of Sentara's nurses worked with the lab to design a way to enter information in a newborn's medical records that attaches to the physician's screening orders.

Prior to implementing the EHR screening program, newborn patients' blood samples were processed manually and did not have a tracking system. The process often resulted in errors and delays, according to the report. The new electronic process allows physicians to receive the newborn patients' test results within five days.  

 "We all wanted to protect the babies and give families assurance of a timely result for the newborn screen," Ms. Nicks said. "This screen can literally save a baby's life."

Sentara Healthcare plans to add three more hospitals to the program this year before expanding to all its Virginia hospitals. The health system comprises 12 hospitals, 11 of which are in Virginia.

More articles on EHRs:
UMass adds feature in EHR for providers to communicate with infection control specialists
Allscripts backs HHS final interoperability rules  
Epic employees continue 'essential' travel, company cancels spring conference due to coronavirus pandemic

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