Memorial Health gets Electronic Medical Records booster shot from IBM

Colorado Springs 03 November 2006Memorial Health System has selected IBM to bring medical records on-line and provide physicians with real-time access to medical information to help deliver better patient-centric care. Memorial, comprised of a 477-bed hospital and 15 facilities throughout Colorado Springs, has chosen a range of IBM hardware, software and services to accelerate the usage of electronic medical records for more than 1400 physicians and staff that access its services.


"Seconds count in a medical trauma situation", stated John Slack, Memorial Health System's chief medical officer. "Electronic medical records provide physicians with access to information where they need it, allowing them to make more informed decisions about patient care."

Memorial currently hosts more than 3,5 million electronic documents, growing at a rate of over 200.000 new documents per month. As Memorial grew over the past several years, it ran out of physical storage room for paper files and began to move files to a secure off-site hosting facility. Meanwhile, hospital patients often arrived at a different location than where their paper files resided. With a paper-based system, Memorial found itself transporting files all over town.

Today, the more than 98 percent of Memorial's medical staff who operate in independent practices access patient data such as insurance information and laboratory and radiology results through Memorial's PhysicianLink, a Web-based portal for area physicians hosted on IBM WebSphere Portal Server and IBM System p hardware. Records move seamlessly between the hospital and the doctor's office, allowing physicians to provide better and more efficient care for their patients.

In the past, when a patient suffering from headaches was referred for an MRI in the radiology department, radiology mailed the results to the referring physician's office in a few days or a week. With the new electronic records system, the information is in the physician's hand immediately after the report is created by the radiologist - providing quicker, detailed results of findings such as a brain tumour or aneurysm.

Memorial required a content management solution that could capture clinical information such as lab and clinical reports and make it available to clinicians at any location, as well as integrate with back office applications. Memorial's new system built on IBM Content Manager captures data electronically and serves as a truly integrated clinical information system by supporting financial operations and human resources in addition to clinical operations.

IBM also is providing consolidation services to merge data collected from an IBM Content Manager system with an existing Cerner PowerChart system. This enables Memorial to allow data developed on niche software, such as a cardiology-specific software application, to be captured electronically in the Content Manager system and then made available for the first time through the PowerChart application, providing clinicians with instant access to the cardiology study.

"Every hospital is looking for a competitive advantage, and IT is one of our strengths. Physicians refer patients to our hospital over our competitors because they are able to access the reports immediately or access discharge information at the same time that a patient is released from the hospital", stated Tom Kerwin, Memorial Health System's CIO. "IBM WebSphere's open standards-based approach allows us to rapidly communicate with clinicians without having to go to each doctor's office and install specialized software."

Leslie Versweyveld

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