$40M investment in EHR links hospitals

An investment of $40 million will be made by St. Elizabeth Healthcare will invest to launch its new electronic medical (EMR) records project, the largest such project in the state of Kentucky. IBM and EPIC have designed the new system, which is to provide doctors and nurses, throughout the Northern Kentucky healthcare network, instant access to patient records, including test results, X-rays and MRI images. The healthcare network, which includes six hospitals, plus 31 physicians’ offices, should be linked by the fall of 2010, said Alex Rodgriguez, chief information officer for St. Elizabeth Healthcare. The objective of the project is to create a ‘unified environment’ so the network, which recently added the former St. Luke Hospitals in Florence and Fort Thomas, will be able to share patient records, billing systems and other technologies. The new system will increase efficiency, reduce errors and save money.

Under the new system, the physician will be able to call up digital images on a computer screen from any of the hospitals or imaging centers in the St. Elizabeth Healthcare network. It is believed by the St. Elizabeth officials that the new EMR system will save the network about $50 million in operating costs over 10 years. St. Elizabeth also qualifies for up to $14 million federal stimulus funds to pay for the new system. The new system will include records for about 12 % of the region’s population, said Dan Pelino, general manager of IBM Healthcare.

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