Texas RHIO Provides Model for EHR Adoption
Ted Matthews, CEO at Anson General, Named “EHR Game Changer”
(Houston, November 9, 2010) – An innovative regional health information organization (RHIO), formed by four Texas hospitals, is serving as a model for electronic health record (EHR) adoption in rural health organizations across the country. The RHIO, which flipped the switch on ChartAccess® Comprehensive EHR from Prognosis Health Information Systems on October 20, is proving that small community hospitals can band together to quickly tap into the clinical and operational benefits associated with EHRs — and work toward reaching the meaningful use milestones required to receive incentive funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
In fact, Ted Matthews, CEO of 45-bed Anson (Texas) General Hospital and one of the leaders who brought the RHIO to fruition, was recently bestowed with an “EHR Game Changers Award” from Health Data Management magazine. The recognition honors individuals who have been true game changers in the design, advocacy, deployment and development of EHR technology. Matthews, the only award winner from a rural or community hospital, joins five other distinguished healthcare information technology visionaries in receiving the honor: John Mattison, M.D., the chief medical officer at Kaiser Permanente; Doug Fridsma, M.D., acting director of the Office of Interoperability and Standards in the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology; Mark Mulvaney, network security engineer at Boston Medical Center; Glen Tullman, CEO at Allscripts; and Vivek
Reddy, M.D., medical director of hospital information technology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Matthews is working closely with Rick DeFoore from 25-bed Stamford (Texas) Memorial Hospital, Debra Meador from 20-bed Stonewall Memorial Hospital, Aspermont, Texas, and Randy King from 14-bed Throckmorton (Texas) County Memorial Hospital to collectively utilize the EHR technology in an effort to improve care in the region. The CEOs at the four hospitals – which are located within 35 miles of each other – put aside competitive concerns and are banding together to overcome the financial and operational hurdles typically associated with technology implementations.
To jump start the initiative, Matthews wrote a grant proposal and secured about $500,000 in funding to help overcome some of the initial obstacles to implementing an electronic records system.
The funding is just one of the ways that the RHIO members are overcoming obstacles. The four hospitals also will maximize efficiency by learning from each other and by standardizing training, protocols, procedures and policies.
“There is strength in numbers and by coming together we can accomplish so much more. Instead of developing protocols for an EHR four times, we just do it once. Instead of conducting four training programs, we have the same training program at all of the facilities,” Matthews says. “We are putting aside our competitive concern to become stronger and to better carry out our clinical care missions.”
To support the innovative model, the hospitals are collectively tapping into ChartAccess Comprehensive EHR, a shared, web-native EHR solution. Delivered via a “cloud computing” model, where the software applications are made available as a service over an encrypted health information network, the EHR provides clinicians with a complete view of patient data to support optimal and safe clinical care. Users can simply access the system by using a standard operating system and a secure browser.
The fact that all four hospitals tap into one centralized solution remotely has made it much easier to get the system up and running. In addition, because Prognosis is hosting the solution in a HIPAA compliant environment, all applications are maintained by the ChartAcess support team, instead of by staff at each of the individual hospitals.
The EHR also is integrated with billing, laboratory, pharmacy, radiology and other ancillary systems at the different hospitals, which allows it to serve as a data repository for all clinical information. As such, the system provides a seamless continuum of care for patients, not just as they receive care in one hospital but as they receive care across the entire region. Within the year, the information also will be available electronically at outpatient clinics in the area as well, making it possible for various providers to share information seamlessly.
“Our EHR solution brings advanced functionality and features to hospitals of all sizes. The fact that these four rural hospitals are leveraging the technology to truly improve clinical care in their communities illustrates just how much can be accomplished when the right technology is utilized in the right way. We are proud that Ted Matthews chose to „change the game‟ by leveraging our system for the greater good of patients in rural Texas,” says Ramsey Evans, CEO of Prognosis Health Information Systems.
Prognosis Health Information Systems, Inc., aims to improve the quality and safety of patient care in America by providing highly affordable, functional and usable information systems for hospitals. The Houston-based company, which was built by leveraging the healthcare industry experiences of a business software vendor and a medical records service and software provider, offers the information technology, service and support that makes EHR success a realistic goal for all healthcare organizations. Prognosis offers ChartAccess, a Comprehensive EHR developed by clinicians that makes it easy to afford, use, implement and maintain an electronic health records system. For more information, go to www.prognosishis.com.