Hospitals benefit from $20,000 grant
St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics will benefit from a $20,000 grant from the Washington Health Information Collaborative.  The funds will be used to assist nursing and medical staff develop responsive modules for their upcoming electronic medical records.  CVHC will administer the grant but all information will be shared and jointly implemented by both facilities.Vicky Petersen, RN, CVHC, works on developing a software module for the CVHC/SMHC Meditech system which will provide electronic medical records. A grant from the Washington Health Information Collaborative will provide funds for development of the order entry module.
“As doctors and nurses we are responsible for helping design the actual modules we’ll be using in our future electronic medical records system,” said Vicky Petersen, RN, Clinics Coordinator.  “Although we purchased the software system from Meditech, a Boston company, they provide the framework, but we figure out exactly what our needs are and how we can best design the system modules to meet those needs. The order entry module allows providers and nurses to enter orders for a patient’s treatments and/or tests.  Orders can be entered for lab, radiology, respiratory therapy, special diets, etc.  Results are also viewed within this module.”
Petersen is working with Barb Michels, RN, and Shari Kuther, RN, at St. Mary’s Hospital to develop the modules.
According to Pam McBride, CVHC/SMHC grant coordinator, the award will provide funds to assist in that process.  “We really appreciate the generosity of the collaborative.  Their financial support will help us design more comprehensive modules that will allow providers and nurses to order patient care and view results.  The custom design will help ensure the modules meet our local needs and that our physicians and nurses will find them user friendly.”
The Collaborative is a public-private partnership that provided $ 1 million in 2006 for the acquisition, implementation and expansion of health information technology by health care providers.  Last year the Collaborative was funded by two $500,000 contributions from First Choice Health and the Washington State Health Care Authority.  Also participating are Qualis Health and the Puget Sound Health Alliance.  
First Choice Health is a Seattle-based, physician and hospital owned company that has served Washington and the Northwest since 1985.  “The use of electronic medical record systems and other information technology has great potential for improving patient safety and the quality of care for patients,” said First Choice Health Chief Medical Officer Ze’ev Young.  
“This award program will provide financial incentives and technical assistance for physician clinics and hospitals to get out of the old fashioned world of paper record keeping,” said Steve Hill, Administrator of the Washington State Health Care Authority.
St. Mary’s Hospital and Clearwater Valley  Hospital, Orofino, began phasing in the Meditech Software System over two years ago.  The business office, lab, pharmacy, general ledger and other modules are up and running.  The electronic medical records modules will be initiated later this year.  “Our hospitals are not planning on scanning in all medical records due to time and expense issues, so we’ll be using both paper and electronic systems for awhile until most of the necessary information is within each patient’s record,” said McBride. “We’re really building towards the future.”

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