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8/3/2009
02:49 PM
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Kentucky Healthcare Provider Preps State's Largest EMR Rollout

St. Elizabeth Healthcare's new systems will provide e-medical records to 600,000 patients in Northern Kentucky.

Kentucky's largest implementation of electronic medical records is underway as St. Elizabeth Healthcare starts standardizing its clinical system platforms and gets ready to roll out EMRs to its three large doctor practices.

The project will let St. Elizabeth's nearly 1,000 physicians more easily enter and access patient data--including lab results, drug information, and other clinical data--from St. Elizabeth's physician offices and other ambulatory care facilities, as well as its six hospitals. When it's completed, by the end of next year, about 12% of Kentucky's population will have e-medical records, said St. Elizabeth's CIO Alex Rodriguez.

St. Elizabeth, which was created out of the October merger of St. Elizabeth Medical Center and St. Luke Hospitals, has 1,211 beds and provides care to about 600,000 patients in the northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati region.

As part of the project, St. Elizabeth Healthcare will replace systems previously used in St. Elizabeth and St. Luke hospitals with new ones that include IBM Power 550 and 570 AIX-based servers running EMR and other clinical software from Epic, including EpicCare Ambulatory and EpicCare Inpatient. The project also includes Cadence Scheduling, Resolute Hospital Billing, and Preclude Registration software.

St. Elizabeth was planning to replace its disparate EMR systems even before the federal stimulus legislation was passed in February, Rodriguez said. The stimulus package includes billions of dollars to assist healthcare providers who implement EMRs and other health IT, and use those systems in "meaningful" ways as defined by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

St. Elizabeth will spend about $80 million on the clinical IT project, along with other IT-related efforts, including a new data center and the replacement of IV pumps with wireless "smart" technology that allows better monitoring and management of St. Elizabeth patients' intravenous treatments, Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez doesn't expect stimulus funding to cover the full cost of the project, but he thinks St. Elizabeth will be eligible for several million dollars from the federal incentive program.

St. Elizabeth will begin deploying the new systems in September to its three large doctor groups and its other care centers. The rollout to the organization's hospitals will begin next April and should be completed by September 2010, Rodriguez said.

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