Kern Medical Center selects system for clinical transformation

Dec. 5, 2009

San Diego and Bakersfield, Calif.—December 3, 2009—Medsphere Systems Corporation, the leading provider of open-source healthcare enterprise solutions, today announced that Kern Medical Center of Bakersfield, Calif., will fully and meaningfully deploy the OpenVista® electronic health record (EHR) by the end of 2010. This significant health IT initiative, which will eventually touch every KMC clinician and patient, is designed to help KMC achieve dramatic and swift clinical transformation and maximize health IT financial incentives available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. OpenVista’s affordability and rapid implementation process will enable the county-owned medical center to cut costs and streamline care for more than 100,000 acute and ambulatory care patients each year while using federal ARRA stimulus funds to pay for the system in total.

“We are confident OpenVista will, most importantly, improve the safety and quality of care for our patients; it will also streamline care in Kern County, and eliminate waste, workflow inefficiencies and the inappropriate duplication of services,” said Kern Medical Center CEO Paul Hensler, FACHE. “We looked at other solutions, but OpenVista’s comparatively low cost and speed of implementation made it the obvious choice for us. We didn’t think any other system could be implemented fast enough for us to qualify for the first year of federal funding.”

Under the ARRA legislation, eligible hospitals that implement and meaningfully use an EHR by the 2011 deadline will receive millions of federal dollars through increased Medicare reimbursements between 2011 and 2014. The incentives become penalties for hospitals that have not implemented an EHR by 2015.

“The partnership with Kern Medical Center demonstrates Medsphere’s ability to provide hospitals with a safe, reliable and cost-effective solution that has a proven return on investment,” said Michael J. Doyle, president and CEO of Medsphere. “We applaud Paul Hensler and his team, and the Kern County Board of Supervisors, for making this forward-thinking choice, especially as it relates to the responsible use of public funds. The hospital is saving Kern County taxpayers money by making a sound financial decision.”

Comprehensive clinical health IT adoption by U.S. medical facilities remains low (roughly 1.5 percent according to the New England Journal of Medicine) largely due to the prohibitive costs associated with implementing an EHR. Many hospitals have avoided these barriers by implementing commercialized open source versions of the VistA system developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. By implementing one such version, OpenVista, Kern Medical Center is leveraging a healthcare solution that was paid for by taxpayers and is significantly more cost-effective than proprietary alternatives.

Under the terms of the contract, the implementation of OpenVista at Kern will provide clinicians with access to valuable clinical IT support: computerized physician order entry (CPOE) functionality, an inpatient barcode medication administration (BCMA) module, a closed-loop medication management system, clinical alerts and reminders, flexible reporting tools and a portfolio of clinical templates. The pre-built OpenVista system will enable Kern to use the solution effectively from day one, and customize and enhance it over time to specific hospital needs.

Kern Medical Center is now also able to participate in Medsphere’s Healthcare Open Source Ecosystem, where clinicians, administrators and other hospital staff share and learn best practices for improving patient care from other OpenVista users.