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Midland Memorial adopts electronic health record platform for improved care

Medsphere Systems Corporation, the leading provider of Open Source healthcare IT solutions, today announced that partner Midland Memorial Hospital (MMH), the first commercial facility to implement the company's OpenVista electronic health record (EHR), has been recognized by the Health Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) as one of only nine Stage 6 healthcare facilities in the United States. The designation by HIMSS Analytics recognizes facilities that have implemented healthcare IT solutions and achieved established levels of automated patient care and clinical process improvement.

Stage 6 is the most substantial designation with regard to EHR adoption that HIMSS Analytics has applied to any healthcare institution or system to date.

The validity and importance of Stage 6 recognition is borne out by the results achieved at the nine facilities on the list. According the HIMSS Analytics, the hospitals saw significant improvements in a number of clinical metrics through the implementation of an EHR coordinated with internal process, workflow, and cultural changes.

"This really does validate what we've done. I'm really proud of what our people have accomplished," said Russell Meyers, Midland Memorial CEO. "Our ability to share information has made a tremendous difference to our doctors.

"We were a struggling community hospital," Meyers added, illustrating how far the organization has come in choosing the OpenVista EHR and subsequently garnering Stage 6 status. "This was a no-brainer for us. OpenVista is a more economical solution, it's proven and reliable, and I don't see any major advantages offered by more expensive solutions over what we've done."

Data provided by HIMSS Analytics indicates that the nine Stage 6 facilities make up only 0.1 percent of the more than 4,000 acute care facilities in the organization's database. The specific definition of Stage 6 includes full physician documentation with structured templates for at least one patient care service area, and the availability to physicians of all digital and film images through a secure network.

In the case of MMH, Medsphere was able to provide the OpenVista solution that enabled Stage 6 recognition for roughly 20 percent of the cost of systems recommended by perceived industry leaders and in roughly half the implementation time traditionally required.

"Entry-level cost is a huge factor" for small to medium-sized hospitals and health systems, said David Whiles, Director of Information Systems at MMH. "From a clinical standpoint, [OpenVista] is a very functionally rich system, and having a truly integrated system is a huge plus."

If the Stage 6 recognition for Midland is an endorsement of Medsphere's EHR system, it is equally an acknowledgement that EHRs are quite simply a component in overall changes to process and workflow that must be made by healthcare facilities focused on improving patient outcomes.

"Implementing an EHR is definitely an organizational project, not an IT project," Whiles said, adding that the most basic benefits of an integrated system-universal access to patient data and legibility of information-resulted in tremendous changes at MMH.

"First, we want to congratulate Midland Memorial Hospital on what they have achieved as an organization and clinical community," said Medsphere CEO Michael J. Doyle. "The benefits this designation represents for patients and the surrounding community are self evident.

"Stage 6 recognition for MMH also demonstrates conclusively that Medsphere OpenVista is the most disruptive force in the healthcare IT marketplace," Doyle added. "Midland achieved the highest industry recognition for EHR implementation for 80 percent less than traditional systems. If politicians are serious about saving money and improving patient care in the U.S., then Open Source and OpenVista are essential ingredients."

What should be of particular interest to healthcare administrators and government officials, Doyle added, is Medsphere's Healthcare Open Source Ecosystem, which was officially promoted at the HIMSS conference last week. This united group of healthcare partners, he said, shares a similar vision of improving patient care through the latest Open Source tools.

"The old way of locking hospitals into expensive long-term contracts that silo data, create waste, don't interoperate, take years to deploy, and rarely show a return on investment is over. Midland and our other clients understand our value proposition, and we are seeing a surge of other hospitals and partners because of the value we offer. It is particularly gratifying to see that an independent third party has validated our approach."

The VistA platform on which OpenVista is based is used in all U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities and is credited with helping turn the VA into a national leader in quality patient care. Medsphere has enhanced VistA to meet the needs of non-VA healthcare providers and added professional services, ongoing product development, and 24x7 technical support, providing a professional Open Source delivery model without expensive up-front proprietary license fees.

The Stage 6 announcement at MMH is only one in a recent series of events at Medsphere that includes Doyle taking over leadership as CEO, Rick Jung coming on board as chief operating officer, Dr. Edmund Billings' appointment as chief medical officer, and Scott McMullen joining as vice president of engineering. The company's current activities include OpenVista implementations at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County in Rock Springs, Wyoming, and facilities in the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WV DHHR). The system is already in use at LA's Century City Doctors Hospital, Midland Memorial Hospital in Midland, Texas, several WV DHHR facilities, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Indian Health Service, and a variety of other care delivery organizations.
 

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