Federal Prisons to Adopt Advanced EHR System

EHR SystemThe Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is planning to replace the basic electronic healthcare records of its inmates with a new electronic health record system. The main purpose behind the initiative is having an advanced system with capabilities such as clinical decision-making, mobility, infectious disease outbreak management, and compliance with user guidelines, set forward by the government and industry.

Since 2006, the federal prison system has a basic EHR — the Bureau Electronic Medical Record. It has been handling inmates’ medical, social, psychological history, prescription drug information, and other ongoing data. According to a recent report published in fcw.com, the new advanced system is also looking for improved capabilities such as acute and sub-acute care, allied health services, patient accounting and management, ambulatory care, and many more.

Specifications for BOP’s New Electronic Medical Record System

Apart from federal offenders, the BOP maintains around 245 primary care or internal medicine physicians, with an additional 165 physicians and 460 beds at seven advanced care facilities. To manage all these facilities and ensure proper flow of operations, it is essential to have a new electronic medical record system that can address the following requirements.

  • Advanced patient identification abilities, with facility to integrate the BOP’s own inmate identification system
  • Implement a hardware for ensuring security
  • It should contain an integrated system for :
    • Bed management
    • Dentistry management
    • Overall practice management
    • PACS
    • Radiology
    • Surgery management

Security — the Major Concern When Outsourcing

Security remains the prime concern while transferring the responsibility for creating and maintaining a medical record system to a vendor partner. According to RFI (Request for Information), the vendors offering medical transcription services should recognize the secure environment in which the solution will be deployed. Moreover, they should be checked for having a 128-bit encryption and an audit trail for record access and use.

The BOP’s Bureau Electronic Medical Records System (BEMR) can be accessed only by those persons who are authorized to review the information for official purposes. The system is password protected and all transmissions of data are encrypted using 128-bit SSL encryption. Information available in the records is safeguarded in accordance with bureau rules and policies. However, RFI didn’t mention anything regarding the portability of inmates’ health records. But they are interested to learn whether, commercial EHR systems are interoperable with existing third-party systems.

The RFI makes no mention of whether an inmate’s health record should be portable and can follow an inmate into the private or government healthcare system upon his or her release from custody. But the bureau is interested in learning from vendors whether their commercial EHR systems are interoperable with existing third-party systems.