Debe Gash, VP and CIO of Saint Luke's Health System, spearheaded a pioneering connectivity project that improved care and laid the groundwork for the interoperability of systems that will be a key part of Meaningful Use Stage 2.
Five years ago, the Kansas City, Mo., health system, which includes 11 acute-care hospitals and employs about 300 physicians, introduced a secure messaging system, partly to get doctors more involved in improving the quality of care. The Web-based system lets hospitals deliver results and transcribed reports to physicians, who also use it to communicate with each other and with patients.
In addition to the communication system, Saint Luke's is driving the implementation of a regional imaging exchange. In the last year, it has connected the majority of hospitals in the area, letting them use the exchange to distribute images, Gash said. "When a patient is transferred from a rural facility to one of our metropolitan hospitals, we can do the image exchange and don't have to wait for the CD to arrive," she said.