Rural Texas hospitals to create RHIO with Shared EHR

One of the underlying principles of “meaningful use” of EHRs–and a key requirement for earning federal stimulus payments–is the ability to be interoperable with other organizations. To this end, four small, rural hospitals that serve the same general geographic area in central Texas are joining together to create a regional health information organization (RHIO) with a shared EHR.

Stonewall Memorial Hospital, Anson Memorial General Hospital, Stamford Memorial Hospital and Throckmorton County Memorial Hospital–none of which has more than 45 inpatient beds–are installing the ChartAccess EHR from Houston-based Prognosis Health Systems. Prognosis will host and maintain the servers outside of the hospitals in a “cloud” environment that feeds into each of the hospitals. The system should be operational by October, just in time for the Medicare Part A stimulus program to take effect.

“Because we’re so small, not every hospital can be everything to every patient, and so we were willing to collaborate and cooperate on this project,” Nathan Tudor, CEO of 20-bed Stonewall Memorial Hospital in Aspermont, Texas, tells Government Health IT. “As a result we have overcome some of the financial and technology obstacles that have historically stood in the way of rural hospitals that want to implement EHRs.”

The EHR will integrate with ancillary and management systems so it can serve as a shared clinical data repository for the four hospitals. Clinicians will be able to access records on cell phones and other mobile devices.