The Benefits of Integrating
Electronic Health Records with
Corrections Case Management
Best practices in the Corrections industry have developed over decades to incorporate the concept of a single unified record for each offender; a unique case file that includes the complete and detailed history of an offender’s
relationship with a corrections agency. It is through this consolidated view of an offender that line officers and case workers concerned with all aspects of security – inmate, staff and public - develop a knowledge and understanding of the individual inmate.
That an inmate’s medical and treatment history should be a part of this unified
record is ever more important in an age of increasingly complex health records’
legislation, an aging and sickening inmate population, constantly increasing health care costs, and the ongoing threat of inmate lawsuits.
To meet this need, Syscon has developed a sophisticated and corrections-specific Electronic Health Records (EHR) system that is fully integrated within our comprehensive Jail Management solution. Syscon’s Elite EHR comes with industry-leading ease-of-use features and yet is efficiently designed with advanced methodologies to meet your current and evolving medical management, reporting and privacy requirements.
Single Data Entry and Intake Processing
The Elite EHR system has been developed specifically for corrections agencies. As a result, all aspects of the system are based on corrections best practices and are tightly integrated with the key features and functions inherent within the Elite JMS. As a result, the medical intake process can be tightly integrated with an agency’s standard booking procedure through use of customizable workflow
features. This allows medical intake to occur at any point in the overall booking
process or it can be maintained as a totally independent business process.
The efficiently designed integration between correctional and medical
complete history of key inmate health information is available to medical personnel at all times.
Implementation of a series of pre-defined triggers makes the EHR system a proactive tool for notifying staff when critical situations arise. This could include
automatically sending messages to medical personnel when an inmate being booked requires immediate attention.
In addition, the system can pop-up on-line messages related to medical/security issues (for example, the inmate is diabetic and requires insulin 4 times per day) that all staff must be aware of, including at time of booking.
Schedules and Movements
Syscon’s integrated JMS/EHR package eliminates the possibility of scheduling conflicts by utilizing a unified scheduling module. All scheduled activities (courts dates, internal hearings, program events, education classes, classification meetings, medical referrals and appointments, etc.) are maintained in a single data table. As a result, when staff attempt to schedule an event that is in conflict with an already scheduled activity the system will immediately notify the staff
member of the conflict and provide options for handling the situation. These
options may include modifying the newly introduced event, allowing the conflict to exist until some future time, or notifying the original event author of the
An additional feature resulting from integration with the JMS is the ability to
view future scheduled events and plan the distribution of medical services
based on this information. This eliminates the time-consuming effort required to find the location of an inmate for, say, required medications, when an inmate is moved without the prior knowledge of medical staff.
Alerts and Restrictions
The TAG OMS includes a detailed Alerts sub-system that prominently displays
important information about an offender on every inmate specific screen.
Standard corrections’ alerts – (V)iolent offender, (S)uicidal, etc. – are as important to medical staff as they are to line officers. In addition, through the EHR
system, qualified medical personnel can add medical alerts that will be of equal interest to security, classification and program personnel.
Alert Details LOV
The OMS also handles offender restrictions for commissary purchases within the Commissary module. An important inter-relationship exists between the
Commissary module and the EHR system; when dietary restrictions are entered into the EHR system these restrictions are automatically carried over to the
Commissary module. For example, an inmate that is identified as a diabetic
will be unable to purchase items containing sugar from the commissary.
The ability to recover some of the costs associated with the provision of medical services to inmates is an important step toward maintaining fiscal viability within a corrections organization. Recognizing this, we have specifically designed the EHR system to integrate fully with the Elite Inmate Trust
Accounting package of the JMS, thus ensuring that opportunities for billing
inmates for services are not lost. Pre-defined obligations can be identified
against an inmate’s trust account and funds withdrawn automatically based on applicable payment rules.
Housing and Internal Location Tracking
Accurate, real-time tracking of an inmate’s current internal location (for example, gym, law library) and bed location is valuable when attempting to locate an inmate for the purpose of administering medical treatment. Furthermore, the ability to readily obtain inmate ‘cluster’ views at the unit and facility levels
allows medical personnel to disseminate services in a more coordinated fashion. Only full integration with the JMS can make this available.
Compliance and Inmate Lawsuits
The ability to link data on medical treatment within the framework of a consolidated offender record allows an agency to advance a stronger defense
against inmate lawsuits claiming negligence or failure to comply with legislative
rules and regulations or court-mandated duties.
If an offender is transferred from one facility in an agency to another, the entire offender record – including all medical details and history – is transferred automatically. This minimizes the need to move hard copy files (and the corresponding creation of duplicate file entries) and eliminates the possibility
Furthermore, integration of the OMS with EHR enables medical staff to receive automatic, real-time messages related to the future transfer or release of an inmate. This allows staff to efficiently remove an inmate from medication rounds, clinic appointments and other scheduled events, thus saving time and expense.
Equally important, OMS/EHR integration ensures proper through-care of
service via the coordination of medical treatment with external service providers such as community care facilities and other corrections’ medical providers.
Third Party Data
Finally, the issue of the control of inmate medical data is of the utmost importance. If a corrections organization’s medical supplier maintains the inmates’ health records on a system that they provide, there may well be
difficulties – and certainly delays – in recovering offender information should the medical contract expire or be terminated. Maintaining this inmate medical
data as an integral part of the agency’s own OMS guarantees the agency will always have access to vital inmate medical data.
In summary, we believe a clear and strong argument has been made for integrating your Electronic Health Records system within an overall Jail Management System.
In the corrections environment, health and security are inter-dependent. By implementing the necessary security matrix – such as that offered with the Elite JMS solution -- it is now possible to give your organization the best of all worlds: a sophisticated inmate health records system sharing information with a
comprehensive JMS when it makes logical and legal sense while, at the same time, ensuring that data privacy concerns are appropriately addressed.
Syscon Justice Systems Elite Electronic Health Records is this solution.