New Rural RHIO Aims to Achieve Meaningful Use

Feb. 16, 2010

(Houston, Feb. 10, 2010) Four community hospitals in Texas have taken the bull by the horns to form a regional health information organization (RHIO) that will enable them to experience the clinical and financial benefits commonly associated with electronic medical records (EMRs).

CEOs at the founding hospitals — Ted Matthews from 45-bed Anson (TX) General Hospital, Rick DeFoore from 25-bed Stamford (TX) Memorial Hospital, Nathan Tudor from 20-bed Stonewall Memorial Hospital, Aspermont, TX, and Randy King from 14-bed Throckmorton (TX) County Memorial Hospital — worked cooperatively to establish the RHIO in an effort to improve care delivery. The rural RHIO, one of the first-of-its-kind in the country, will be empowered by a web-based EMR from Prognosis Health Information Systems.

“Rural hospitals often struggle to keep up with technology implementations but we realized that we could band together to improve care for all the patients in this area of Texas. By working together, we are able to overcome some of the obstacles that have traditionally stood in the way of implementing electronic medical records,” Tudor said.    

For instance, the four hospitals are prevailing over the financial challenge that is often cited as a barrier to technology adoption for small facilities.

“The fact that we can all tap into one centralized solution remotely makes it much easier for our small rural hospitals to get a system up and running. The synergies, however, will continue as we roll out the system. We will be able to maximize efficiency by learning from each other and by standardizing our training, protocols, procedures and policies. It’s a great approach that could serve as a model for other rural providers across the country,” DeFoore said.

To form the RHIO, CEOs at the four hospitals — which are located within 25 miles of one another — put aside competitive concerns and acknowledged that tapping into a shared EMR could improve patient care throughout the region. Next, the hospital leaders identified a vendor that could provide the technology and support that would help them meet the federal government’s meaningful use requirements by October of 2010 – and, therefore, become eligible for the funds available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

ChartAccess Comprehensive EMR from Prognosis stood out from the pack. Delivered via a “cloud computing” model, where the software applications are made available as a service over the Internet, the EMR provides clinicians with a complete view of patient data to support optimal and safe clinical care. Users can simply access the system by using a standard operating system and a web browser. 

Designed by physicians, ChartAccess also provides the user-friendly features that will help the RHIO’s facilities quickly implement the technology. For example, screens that mimic e-mail interfaces, make it easy for doctors, even those who are technology resistant, to utilize the system right out of the box. An iPhone application even makes it possible for clinicians to view and process orders from their cell phones.  

In addition, Prognosis is providing the change management support that will help the RHIO meet the ARRA’s specific requirements. To start, Prognosis will work with the RHIO to meet the initial October 2010 deadline, which calls for a variety of utilization milestones such as the use of computerized physician order entry (CPOE), the incorporation of lab results in the records system as structured data and the implementation of five clinical decision support rules.

www.prognosishis.com

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