October 31, 2003

E5 to end paper processes in hospital

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Marilyn A. Dubree and Dr. C. Wright Pinson are co-leaders for the initiative to eliminate paper-based processes from inpatient areas at VUMC. Anne Rayner

E5 to end paper processes in hospital

Flush from the early success of new paperless processes in the clinic, Vanderbilt University Medical Center is beginning to focus attention on eliminating paper-based processes from inpatient areas.

The new project has been named E5, as in electronic by 2005. Co-leaders for E5 are Chief Nursing Officer Marilyn A. Dubree and Dr. C. Wright Pinson, professor of Surgery and VUH chief of staff.

“We’re trying to do on the inpatient side by 2005 what we’ve done on the outpatient side, where new tools for communication and disease management are supporting significant gains in quality and efficiency,” Pinson said.

“We look forward to new tools and new ways of working together in the hospital,” Dubree said. “This project will delve into the nitty-gritty of how teams share information; it presents opportunities to shape the next phase of clinical documentation, particularly for nursing.”

Nancy M. Lorenzi, Ph.D., professor of Biomedical Informatics and a member of the E5 Coordinating Council, said the initial thrust of the project is to adapt tools now used in the clinic to inpatient areas, including StarPanel, StarNotes, StarScan, StarVisit, StarTracker and StarForms. “It’s clear that the project will change how we deal with information in inpatient areas, but it’s too early to predict how things will evolve,” Lorenzi said.

The vision for the project formed this spring when a group of interested faculty and staff gathered for a design session, focusing on possibilities for improved medical error prevention, new decision support capabilities, increased efficiency, and improved documentation, notification and compliance.

Technical aspects of E5 include enhanced computing infrastructure in the hospital and greater integration of clinical systems such as StarChart, WizOrder, and OR and radiology systems.

In the few months since the design session, a steering committee and project team have been named, an overview of the implementation process has been charted, a careful evaluation of potential test sites has been performed, and the project’s two initial sites have been identified.