Lourdes Hospital looks to Optio for rapid recovery solution

Alpharetta 08 August 2006When a recent flood in Binghamton, New York forced Lourdes Hospital to shut down operations and evacuate patients to nearby health care facilities, their first call for assistance was to their Electronic Health Record (EHR) solution provider, Optio Software.


Lourdes Memorial, a 277-bed, not-for-profit hospital, utilizes Optio's QuickRecord Suite to provide physicians and administrative staff with secure, single sign-on access to critical patient information and historical data at the point of need.

Despite Lourdes' efforts to avoid the flood by building a 10-foot dirt wall off of the parking lot to block the adjacent river's path, the water began flooding the ground floor at 6:30 a.m. on June 28th. By late afternoon it became apparent that they were losing the fight and at 5:00 p.m. hospital management received a call from the local power plant informing them that they had less than an hour before electrical systems would fail. Management realized that they would have to evacuate approximately 75 patients. In addition, 60-70 servers had to be shut down manually.

"Our first call for assistance was to Optio", stated Tom Ellerson, director of information technology, Lourdes Memorial Hospital. "Optio's customer service team responded immediately. We knew that we could count on Optio to work with us towards system recovery in the hours and days to follow", stated Tom Ellerson.

The following evening, 29 hours after the hospital was forced to close, Tom Ellerson was notified that power had been restored and it was safe to return to the premises. Tom Ellerson and the IT team agreed to meet early the next morning to begin recovery operations. At that time, a discussion ensued regarding the hospitals' IT systems and which ones would be most critical to recovery operations.

"We polled our management team and asked them what systems they needed to use before any other and we all agreed that Optio QuickChart was needed first. The nursing and administrative staff realized that they had to get to the patients' electronic medical records in order to be able to help the patients in need. Once we made that decision, we had QuickChart and QuickRecord back up and running within 15 minutes", stated Tom Ellerson. Lourdes' administration staff began updating information a few hours later.

The number of patients transferred to local health care facilities during the night of the flood made it imperative to access their records right away. "We have five years of patient history, lab data, test results and dictations stored on the system. It was a huge advantage to have our patients' charts available to the nursing staff and physicians electronically", stated Tom Corino, applications manager, Lourdes Hospital. "It is a tribute to Optio's customer service team, that they could help us make that happen so quickly."

"Without Optio, we would have had no way to view patients' records", Tom Corino continued. "We would have had to find a way to get hard copies of charts from previous visits and would have had to set up a command centre just to handle chart issues alone. Then we would have had to manually carry the charts to the various hospitals and nursing homes where patients had been transferred. It would have set us back several days, if not longer."

"This flood could have become an even bigger disaster for the hospital. Without Optio, patient care would have definitely suffered", stated Dr. Robert Taylor III, M.D., vice president of medical affairs, Lourdes Hospital. "We definitely enhanced patient care by being able to deliver the proper patient information to the point of need."

Officially, Lourdes Hospital reopened July 10, 2006 for business as usual. Due to the flood it was closed for 12 days. "Optio supported our IT department every step of the way", stated Tom Ellerson. "Thanks to Optio, even though the hospital was flooded and damaged, we had access to patients' charts within a few hours of power recovery. I'd hate to think of what might have happened without Optio behind us."

Optio Software with 25 years of experience and more than 5000 clients, worldwide, provides software solutions dedicated to helping customers achieve unprecedented speed, accuracy, functionality and quality in their inbound and outbound document processes, while extending the value of their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Hospital Information Systems (HIS) applications. More than 5000 organisations rely on Optio Software for innovative business process improvement solutions that allow them to reduce transactional activities and focus on core responsibilities. Headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia, Optio Software maintains European, Middle Eastern and African headquarters in Paris, France and sales offices in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.

More than 700 health care organisations use Optio's affordable Electronic Health Record (EHR), forms automation and clinical document management solutions to capture, format, scan, view, sign, archive and deliver real-time access to patient information at the point of need. More company news is available in the VMW June 2006 article National Rural Health Association partners with Optio to provide affordable Electronic Health Record solutions.

Leslie Versweyveld

[Medical IT News][Calendar][Virtual Medical Worlds Community][News on Advanced IT]