Business Computer Applications raises the bar on health care for inmates with Electronic Medical Records

Atlanta 09 January 2006Business Computer Applications Inc. (BCA), a provider of information technology products and services to the commercial, federal, and state and local public and private health markets, is purging paper charts out of correctional health care, eliminating variance, and error in the systems' processing.


"We see enormous opportunity to better manage the health care of inmate populations, saving on the cost of care and helping to prevent adverse publicity and inadvertent exposure of the public to communicable diseases, as well as potentially costly litigation caused by claims of inappropriate, inadequate or non-existent treatment of inmates", stated Albert Woodard, CEO of the minority-owned company that he founded in 1977. "BCA's mission is to raise the bar on the efficiency and effectiveness of correctional health care providers and users, through the use of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and other technology, particularly at the county government level."

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia with offices in Dalton, Georgia; Nashville, Tennessee; and Arlington, Virginia, BCA has serviced the needs of hundreds of clients during its 28 years in business. Its technological offerings include managing and performing significant amounts of the work effort of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and providing Statewide Managed Care Management Information System (MCMIS) to Presbyterian Medical Services, in the state of New Mexico.

A provider of integrated end-to-end EMR solutions, BCA's capabilities translate fluidly to the EMR conversion process for correctional institutions nationwide. In an antiquated system where inmates leaving one correctional facility for another often carry their paper medical charts with them on the bus, every new inmate represents risk of medical error. There are more than 2,1 million people behind bars in the United States, an incarceration rate of 1 out of every 138 Americans, the highest in the world.

As prison populations soar BCA finds itself uniquely qualified to service the correctional health care market - in part, due to ongoing support of its proprietary PEARL EMR application, used by one of the nation's pre-eminent correctional facilities. As a proven business model, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) utilizes the PEARL EMR application installed at correctional institutions for the Texas State Department of Corrections. With over 170.000 inmates in 126 State and Federal institutions across Texas, the UTMB system is one of the largest of its kind worldwide.

Implementation of the PEARL System has fundamentally changed how care is managed at prisons under the UTMB programme", stated John Cook, President of BCA. Dr. Glenn Hammack, Assistant Vice President UTMB and Executive Director, UTMB Electronic Health Network concurred. "Since beginning implementation of the PEARL product in 2000, we have taken the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's 120-plus location health care system virtually paperless. To our knowledge, Texas is the only state-wide correctional system that can make this claim. Specifically, the Pearl system contributes to the successes of the UTMB Electronic Health Network within the correctional environment by providing a seamless, easy to use electronic medical record."

Pearl EMR, a proven, robust application, built on an Oracle-based patient record system, has allowed authorized UTMB clinicians to access the latest technology tools, including telemedicine, providing efficient access to all relevant inmate health care information. BCA has been supporting UTMB since the late 1990's. This positive history made UTMB comfortable continuing with BCA for its advanced health care IT in the state's ongoing efforts to ensure that errors and waste are eliminated in the care delivery process to inmates, according to Dr. Hammack.

For Todd R. Wilcox, MD, medical director for the award-winning Salt Lake County (UT) Metropolitan Jail, a 2100 detainee facility, name recognition and longevity were criteria in selecting an EMR partner. "The EMR industry is known for fly-by-night companies who come in and implement a solution that they are not around to support several years later. BCA demonstrated a long and distinguished track record, as well as the financial support to continue to be there for us in the future."

In what Dr. Wilcox described as a "watershed event" for the Salt Lake County Metropolitan Jail, EMR revolutionized the management style, as well as capability to deliver health care in an efficient, quality oriented and cost effective way. Like all health care organisations, the jail faced labour shortages, particularly amongst licensed health care providers. "By off-loading repetitive clerical tasks onto the EMR we have been able to maximize our work force and to have clinical professionals taking care of patients, as opposed to filling out forms and tracking data."

Additionally, Dr. Wilcox noted that the PEARL system has distinguished itself in ability to present data in an ergonomic format that allows providers to reach decisions quickly. "It speeds up good clinical decision-making as well as enables management to have instantaneous reports on any data element in the EMR. Well beyond the reporting capabilities of the software, the value of an EMR to the operation of a large health care entity really rests in the ability of the EMR to do repetitive tasks accurately without letting things fall between the cracks." Dr. Wilcox went on to say: "We have seen unbelievable gains in the quality and safety of our system, while at the same time we've been able to utilize the tools that an EMR provides to keep our costs low. From an investment perspective, an EMR is the single most cost-effective and quality producing decision that an organisation can make."

BCA estimates annualized revenues of $2 million in 2005 from correctional health care accounts - the company's first year of strategic focus on an environment in critical need of accuracy, accountability and automation. This represents approximately 33 percent of the company's commercial business revenues.

Leslie Versweyveld

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