Optio executive urges industry to address needs of rural and community hospitals

Alpharetta 09 November 2005Community hospitals could be largely left behind in the push to adopt digital medical records if the health care industry doesn't do more to make electronic health record (EHR) systems more accessible and affordable to smaller institutions.


That's the contention of Donald H. French, Optio Software senior vice president of research and development, in a "Thought Leaders" column in the November 2005 issue of Health Management Technology magazine.

In the opinion column, "Helping Small Hospitals Think Big", Donald H. French calls on IT vendors to do more to make it cost-effective for 100-bed and under facilities to adopt and implement EHR systems. In the United States, more than 3500 of the nation's more than 6000 hospitals have 100 beds or fewer, according to the Hospital Blue Book.

"Community facilities need solutions with low impact on capital budgets, low overhead and high ROI", Donald H. French writes in the column. "They need software that integrates easily with existing clinical applications and doesn't require banks of servers or a dedicated IT department. They need applications built on a single platform or programming language so they don't have to build multiple interfaces. They need systems that can be installed in days - not years."

For many community hospitals, subscription-based EHR software - similar to an application service provider approach - is just what the doctor ordered, according to Donald H. French. It requires minimal capital expense and offers accelerated ROI - sometimes in as few as 18 months. These systems can also be remotely installed, maintained and monitored.

Donald H. French joined Optio in August 2004 as senior vice president of health care products with the company's 2004 acquisition of VertiSoft Corporation, which he founded. He subsequently assumed his current role as senior vice president of research and development for Optio Software. A pioneer in clinical document management systems since 1978, Donald H. French has more than three decades of experience in the software and high technology industries. He holds a bachelor's degree in marketing from San Diego State University.

More than 700 health care organisations use Optio forms automation, document management and electronic health record solutions to reduce costs, streamline document-driven health information management processes and improve patient safety.

More than 5000 companies use Optio solutions to achieve unprecedented speed, accuracy, functionality and quality in their inbound and outbound document processes and extend their enterprise resource planning (ERP) and hospital information systems (HIS) applications. Founded in 1981, Optio Software maintains world headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, with Europe, Middle East and Africa headquarters in Paris and sales offices in Germany and the United Kingdom.

To download a PDF version of the column, you can go to the Optio Software Web site. For more company news, you can read the VMW November 2005 article Optio Healthcare introduces solution to accelerate chart completion.

Leslie Versweyveld

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