The Rural Network that Could
In the end, the rural network would have computerized physician order entry, and clinical decision support tools, in addition to the EHR system. Trinity eventually also rolled out an integrated bar code medication administration tool. Now electronic verification of pharmacy orders can be done onsite, or from hundreds of miles away at another hospital in the network, because at the rural hospitals, all of Trinity's pharmacies are not staffed 24/7.
Other tools made possible by the creation of this rural network: evidence-based order sets and access to one of the hospital industry's largest digital medical record repositories containing more than seven million patient files.
Writes Browne: "I strongly encourage adopting a 'pay-now-or-pay-more-later' viewpoint." His method was to lead the implementation in phases at each hospital:
Phase one installs a central clinical data depository. In phase 2 legacy IT systems are converted over a single weekend, and a suite of clinical applications is launched. Other phases incorporate clinical workflow redesign, training , and change management for clinical staff.
As of May 31, 2010, Browne writes, the seven-hospital network has created EHRs for 82,606 patients. Upgrades that will improve care in obstetrics, nursing workflow, and surgery are planned.
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