Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network partners with GE Healthcare

Allentown 28 February 2007Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network (LVHHN), one of the United States' first digital hospitals and the largest academic community hospital system in Pennsylvania, is rolling out GE Healthcare's Centricity Electronic Medical Record (EMR) solution to up to 1000 local primary care physicians and specialists.

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Transitioning physician clinical practices from paper to digital records helps physicians share critical patient information securely across the entire continuum of care. Robust and simplified single sign-on access to other Centricity applications, such as GE's Centricity Enterprise, Radiology Information System (RIS) and Business Solutions, helps break down potential barriers to true collaborative patient care.

"Today, 20 percent of a patient's care is provided in the inpatient setting, while 80 percent is provided by a patient's primary care physician and specialists in an ambulatory setting", explained Harry Lukens, LVHHN senior vice president and chief information officer. "The information within each of these settings exists in silos, not easily accessible to multiple health care providers. In addition to being costly and inefficient, these silos can have a negative impact on patient safety."

When providers have access to a patient's comprehensive medical data, they will be able to deliver better care. For example, when a patient arrives at Lehigh's emergency department (ED), the staff there will be able to consult both inpatient and outpatient records and rapidly determine whether the patient has any known allergies to antibiotics or other medications; get a list of current prescriptions; and check for previously diagnosed conditions that may be contributing to the patient's symptoms. After discharge from the hospital, a patient's primary care physician will have access to the inpatient record to see exactly what transpired and continue appropriate care. Specialists and primary care providers will be able to consult while looking at the same up-to-date medical record at the same time - even if they are miles apart.

As a digital hospital and often-recognized industry innovator, LVHHN has made significant investments in health care technologies. Lehigh has reported that the combination of full hospital-wide implementation of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and barcode medication charting has helped achieve a 44 percent in medication errors. LVHHN has also implemented Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) for digitally storing x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, mammograms and other tests; paperless charts; an all-digital catheterization lab; and an award-winning remote ICU telemedicine system. With the implementation of GE's Centricity EMR in primary care settings and outpatient specialties, LVHHN bridges the inpatient and outpatient information silos to create a seamless and more comprehensive view of patient information promoting faster, safer and more efficient care.

"Digitizing our outpatient partners was a clear next step in our efforts to provide superior patient care", stated Harry Lukens. "By partnering with GE Healthcare, we create a true network across the continuum of care. We are bringing together the providers and all of the various health information elements to help assure safer and more efficient health care."

GE's Centricity Electronic Medical Record, a well-recognized comprehensive electronic health record (EHR), enables ambulatory care physicians and clinical staff to document patient encounters, streamline clinical work flow, and securely exchange clinical data with other providers, patients, and information systems. Centricity EMR is being showcased at the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2007 Annual Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans.

Certified by the Certification Committee for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) and by the National Consortium for Quality Outcomes (NCQA), Centricity EMR is focused on delivering new tracking, measuring and reporting capabilities to measure quality outcomes against national standards and keep up with increasing pay for performance programmes.

"Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network demonstrates how information technology spans and unifies all phases of health care", stated Vishal Wanchoo, president and CEO of GE Healthcare Integrated IT Solutions. "We are proud to work with Lehigh Valley as a strategic partner, breaking down the barriers to safe and efficient health care."

Based in Allentown and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network comprises Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest & I-78, Lehigh Valley Hospital-17th and Chew streets, Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg and Lehigh Valley Health Services, which includes home health, hospice, pharmacy and health management. Advanced regional resources at these non-profit hospitals include a Level I Trauma Center with added paediatric qualifications, certified stroke centre, as well as burn, kidney and pancreas transplant, perinatal/neonatal, cardiac, cancer care, neurology and complex neurosurgery. LVHHN hospitals are designated national Magnet hospitals for excellence in nursing.

GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Its expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, performance improvement, drug discovery, and biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies is helping clinicians around the world re-imagine new ways to predict, diagnose, inform, treat and monitor disease, so patients can live their lives to the fullest.

GE Healthcare's broad range of products and services enable health care providers to better diagnose and treat cancer, heart disease, neurological diseases and other conditions earlier. Its vision for the future is to enable a new "early health" model of care focused on earlier diagnosis, pre-symptomatic disease detection and disease prevention. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a $17 billion unit of General Electric Company. Worldwide, GE Healthcare employs more than 46.000 people committed to serving health care professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries. More company news is available in the VMW March 2004 article GE Healthcare selects Questra to provide next-generation remote monitoring for medical instruments.


Leslie Versweyveld

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