PRESS RELEASE: Corona Nurses Urge Hospital Administrators to Proceed Slowly with EHR Implementation

May 2013


May 31, 2013
CONTACT: Christy McConville; 909-451-3581


Corona Nurses Urge Hospital Administrators to Proceed Slowly with EHR Implementation

Corona, CA—Early Sunday morning, Corona Regional Medical Center will implement the Cerner Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. This complicated health care IT system will be put in place despite urgent calls by the Corona nurses to provide additional training so that patients will not be at risk.

Nurses at Corona mailed and faxed a letter to the Interim Chief Nursing Officer Sheila Martin this morning, urging the hospital to provide a rigorous training for all health care professionals who will use the system, including nurses and doctors; to have a specialist on site for the first week when there is a large potential for error; to ensure adequate, safe staffing during this transitional time; and to create a process for dealing with sterilization and maintaining patient privacy according to established HIPAA laws. Unfortunately, despite the evidence that a rushed implementation could present patient safety risks, the hospital will go forward with the EHR system as planned, moving to the Cerner health IT program early Sunday morning.

“This is a situation where hospital administration should sit down with the care providers and have a two way dialogue about how to safely and carefully implement this system with the least disruption and risk to patients,” said Flo Bautista, Medical RN at Corona.

For an analysis of what can happen if an EHR system is put online too quickly, a white paper by the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center/Qualis Health (1) has identified common implementation errors that result in patient safety issues and other negative outcomes during initial EHR use. Among the pre-operational errors that can cause patient care issues, underestimating the type and duration of training required for using these systems is listed, as well as a host of other process-oriented issues present at Corona right now.

Corona Registered Nurses voted in early January to join the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP). UNAC/UHCP is the largest nurses’ union in Southern California representing over 22,000 Registered Nurses and other health care professionals, including Optometrists; Pharmacists; Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapists; Nurse Midwives; Social Workers; Clinical Lab Scientists; Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners. UNAC/UHCP is affiliated with the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO.

(1) Jeff Hummel, MD, MPH and Peggy Evans, PhD, CPHIT, EHR Implementation with Minimal Practice Disruption in Primary Care Settings: The Experience of the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center, November 2012, http://www.wirecqh.org/upload/EHR-Implementation_white-paper-FINAL-10252012.pdf