Created on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 Written by THE BELLEFONTAINE EXAMINER STAFF
Mary Rutan Hospital is on track to be one of the more advanced hospitals in the country in terms of its electronic use.
Robert Reynolds, MRH information technology director, told Bellefontaine Rotarians Monday that the hospital is working to stay ahead of the technology curve and government mandates through the implementation last August of its new electronic medical records system.
The new $4.2 million system — provided by Meditech — has several advantages that translate into better patient care and safety, Mr. Reynolds said.
Hospital clinicians, for example, now have immediate access to bedside medicine verification to ensure the “right drug goes to the right person at the right time,” he said.
In one case, a staff physician was able to access a patient’s records while traveling in England, the IT director noted.
Staying compliant with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (part of Obamacare) was another driver in upgrading to the new system, Reynolds said, adding, the hospital expects to reimbursed for a majority of its capital outlay as provided in the federal law.
Mary Rutan Hospital's Tele-Stroke Robot
Additionally, the hospital projects a $130,000 annual savings via reduced support staff costs.
About 13 months of training and 1,000 test patients were utilized before system went “live” Aug. 1. The midnight activation was “anticlimactic,” Reynolds said, with a printer malfunction among the few noticeable issues.
Thus far, Meditech has consolidated and supplanted five separate systems which previously handled tasks ranging from patient registration and accounting to surgery scheduling, medical record coding and laboratory information.
Prior to installation, MRH was on Stage 2 of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s seven-stage analytic scale which measures a hospital’s electronic use. Now on Stage 3, the local hospital is aiming to reach the highest stage by early 2014.
Only about 2 percent of hospitals nationwide had reached Stage 7 by January of this year, Reynolds said.
Ultimately, the records of outside medical practices affiliated with MRH — even doctors’ voice recorded notes — will be accessible via the Meditech system.
Mr. Reynolds also touched on other technology in use at the hospital to allow MRH staff to interface remotely with other hospitals to assist with diagnosis and patient care.
Two devices — a Tele-Stroke Robot and a Telemedicine unit — use 1080P HD cameras to provide teleconferences for stroke patient consultations with Ohio State University neurologists and newborn care with Nationwide Children's Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, respectively.
The equipment has the potential to cut down on the number of patients requiring transfer.
Dr. Chris Freeman is scheduled to speak at the club’s April 29 meeting.