Interoperability improves nurse efficiency and patient care at Billings Clinic

Billings Clinic in Billings, Montana was the first hospital to integrate Omnicell remote automated dispensing cabinet (ADC) functionality within the Cerner electronic health record (EHR).

The Challenge

One of Billings Clinic’s primary missions is to ensure that medications are provided to their patients safely and efficiently. To support the safety goal, the hospital placed a laptop for accessing the EHR next to the ADC so nurses could cross-reference the two systems. However, this manual and redundant process decreased nurse productivity.

One of Billings Clinic’s primary missions is to ensure that medications are provided to their patients safely and efficiently. To support the safety goal, the hospital placed a laptop for accessing the EHR next to the ADC so nurses could cross-reference the two systems. However, this manual and redundant process decreased nurse productivity.

The Solution

Activated Solutions 

Omnicell-EHR Interoperability

When Billings staff heard Omnicell was looking for a hospital to test tighter software integration between the Omnicell Automated Dispensing System and Cerner EHR, they volunteered.

One large advantage of achieving interoperability between the ADC and EHR systems is that nurses can remotely request medications they need while at the bedside using the EHR, and then have the medicine ready to pick up from the dispensing cabinet later.

Clinical staff at Billings described the new functionality as “revolutionary” and “awesome,” and noted that it enables more patient time at the bedside.

Activated Solutions 

Omnicell-EHR Interoperability

When Billings staff heard Omnicell was looking for a hospital to test tighter software integration between the Omnicell Automated Dispensing System and Cerner EHR, they volunteered.

One large advantage of achieving interoperability between the ADC and EHR systems is that nurses can remotely request medications they need while at the bedside using the EHR, and then have the medicine ready to pick up from the dispensing cabinet later.

Clinical staff at Billings described the new functionality as “revolutionary” and “awesome,” and noted that it enables more patient time at the bedside.

Before Interoperability

Prior to the interoperability solution, if a nurse was reviewing clinical information within the Cerner EHR and then needed to administer medications to patients, he or she would have to walk to the ADC.

After logging on to the ADC, the nurse could access the patient medication data to validate the prescription or check for any updates, and then remove the needed medications. However, while at the ADC the nurse could not readily access clinical information from the EHR.

This lack of connection between the EHR and ADC created extra steps and potential safety issues.

Prior to the interoperability solution, if a nurse was reviewing clinical information within the Cerner EHR and then needed to administer medications to patients, he or she would have to walk to the ADC.

After logging on to the ADC, the nurse could access the patient medication data to validate the prescription or check for any updates, and then remove the needed medications. However, while at the ADC the nurse could not readily access clinical information from the EHR.

This lack of connection between the EHR and ADC created extra steps and potential safety issues.

After Interoperability

Now, from within the Cerner EHR the nurse can:

  • Confirm the medications to be administered to each patient
  • View any relevant clinical information (e.g. pain scale)
  • Remotely issue the medications, which will be queued at the Omnicell cabinet

This streamlined workflow is faster and more efficient—there is no need to log onto two different applications. The EHR is the source of truth.

Now, from within the Cerner EHR the nurse can:

  • Confirm the medications to be administered to each patient
  • View any relevant clinical information (e.g. pain scale)
  • Remotely issue the medications, which will be queued at the Omnicell cabinet

This streamlined workflow is faster and more efficient—there is no need to log onto two different applications. The EHR is the source of truth.

"The number one thing I hear from the nurses is the responsiveness that they can provide to the patient."

Barbara Diehl, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, Director of Nursing Quality, Practice and Magnet

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