9. The Paperless Hospital

We’re on the verge of an extreme infusion of information technology into hospitals across the country. Electronic medical records (EMR) are the future of inpatient and outpatient record keeping. I see three fears holding back many: 1) cost of implementation, 2) technophobia, and 3) concern about purchasing the “right system.”

While information technology is not the solution to all of our problems, when implemented and used correctly it can help reduce costs and allow for continuity of care amongst providers, ultimately benefiting the patient.

The announcement of the partnership between Google and the Cleveland Clinic moves us one step further (no matter how long it took us to take that step!) toward converting our system of paper to one that is electronic.

However, our own system will go a step beyond the EMR and will be a “paperless hospital.” Being paperless means, well, no paper. Beyond the EMR, going paperless has an impact on all aspects of the hospital. Some organizations have implemented paperless systems already allowing us to learn from what they have done. Newly constructed Dublin Methodist Hospital‘s paperless system is highlighted here. Read (it’s in the first paragraph) about the paperless Baptist Medical Center South.

Vanderbilt Children’s even has a demo to show us how easy it can be:


Principle 9: Paperless from the start! It is best for our patients. It is best for our organization. It is best for our health system. Removing waste and reducing errors are top priorities. We can do both by going paperless.