Hospital Launches Portal to Exchange Data

Posted by Physician Portal on Tue, Dec 22, 2009  
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Hospital Announces Health Information Exchange (HIE) for Bergen, Essex and Hudson Counties

During a recent presentation to over 30 community physicians and medical office managers, St. Mary's Hospital in Passaic, New Jersey announced the completion of the first phase of a new Health Information Exchange (HIE) with their technology partner, STAT Technologies, Inc. of Hazlet, NJ.

"St. Mary's is dramatically changing the way we provide healthcare to the communities we serve," says William Cusick, St. Mary's Chief Financial Officer. "Now, for the first time, our community physicians, clinics, nursing homes and other healthcare agencies will be able to talk to each other, share information and even schedule surgeries and other procedures without having to pick-up the phone, send faxes or courier documents back and forth. Not only is this new system going to improve the quality of care for our patients, it will also save the hospital a significant amount of time and money."

STAT Technologies' STAT Exchange provides a unified view of a patient's information fed from multiple information systems within the hospital. Available information will include lab results, radiology reports, medical records, transcriptions, as well as Admission Discharge and Transfer (ADT) demographics. The system is completely web-based and does not require any additional hardware for physicians.

All communications occurs over a secure, encrypted channel so that only authenticated users can see patient information. Access to patient information is limited by the patients themselves: only authorized users who are given consent by patients can access the system.

"Between now and the end of January, training for the 500+ St. Mary's physicians and their office staff will happen through webinars and face-to-face meetings, whatever is most convenient for them," says Paul Keller, Director of Business Development for STAT Technologies. And the outreach doesn't end with the physician offices. Keller points out that St. Mary's wants to include area nursing homes and the Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) so that no matter where a patient goes, "their information will be available within seconds."

John Arch, St. Mary's Director of Information Technology emphasizes "the functionality doesn't end with just exchanging patient data. Physicians will be able to communicate with each other through secure messaging; they'll be able to electronically sign documents, and they'll even be able to eliminate a pile of billing forms each day because they will now be able to capture their professional fees with just a few clicks on their iPhones or laptop while they're making their rounds using the Charge Capture feature through the exchange."

Daniel P. Conroy, MD, St. Mary's Vice President of Medical Affairs states: "Early next year will mark another major milestone for the St. Mary's Exchange when community physicians who, for whatever reason, do not have their own Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system, will be able to subscribe to the Exchange's Lite EMR module for a very affordable monthly fee that will give the doctor their own electronic prescriptions, progress notes, acute care charge capture, secure messaging and acute care patient charts - all of which will greatly contribute to patient safety, convenience and improved quality of care." Dr. Conroy adds, "and the Lite EMR will make the doctor eligible to receive Medicare's incentive payment beginning in 2011 under the "Meaningful Use" guidelines."

Arch emphasizes that they (the doctors) "don't have to make the costly computer hardware investment that's required by most EMR system vendors. With the St. Mary's Exchange Lite EMR module, the doctor and his office only need Internet capable computers with a secure logon ID and password that my department will manage."

St. Mary's President and CEO Michael J. Sniffen says "the St. Mary's Exchange marks yet another key step in our renewal. We're ready now to connect with any healthcare provider or organization that needs to share critical patient care information with us and our partners and we look forward to tying into the state-wide exchange, whenever they're ready - but we're ready now."

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