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Power County Spotlight on Health

The Aberdeen Times of Aberdeen, Idaho

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The Future of Healthcare!

The Power County Hospital District has undergone a lot of information technology upgrades and changes in the recent year just ask our IT Director Jason Povey! He has been very busy in this position planning and preparing all of these upgrades as part of our initial steps for implementing a facility-wide Electronic Health Record (EHR) system.

Many of you have undoubtedly seen the rise and influence of technology in the healthcare sector at many of your doctor or specialist's offices and hospitals. It seems that every office you go to these days is installing more computers, laptops, or COWS (computers on wheels) in the exam rooms for providers and nurses to use, rather than the older charts. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2009 almost 44% of physicians were using all or partial EHR systems in their practices and those statistics are rapidly climbing as providers and facilities across the country are scrambling to meet the newest federal requirements for an approved and reimbursable EHR system in their practices.

This nationwide push for electronic conversion began with the 2009 federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) calling for the "nationwide implementation of an interoperable health information technology infrastructure to improve the quality and efficiency of health care." This legislation will help provide the funding for providers, such as PCHD, in the promotion and adoption of electronic systems at a much faster rate, by recouping a share of the costs, after an approved and successful implementation. The PCHD Board of Trustees approved the purchase and plans to move forward with the Healthland EHR product for the Hospital. This is a company that the District currently uses for its billing and financial systems, so the familiarity of the system will help with the transition. Healthland also focuses its systems on meeting the needs of smaller, critical access hospitals like ours for a more tailored fit.

Our upcoming system will include features and program integration for clinical documentation, emergency department, laboratory, radiology, pharmacy e-prescribing, electronic medication records, and patient instruction applications all to be used in various areas of the hospital.

Many employees, physicians, and departments will be very busy in the coming months preparing and training on this new system as we make this transition. This will be a very big and new change for many of us and is sure to have a few bumps in the road but this system will also help improve and assist all areas of the District in providing care that is more efficient, consistent, and better for everyone. The system will offer us and our patients' easier access for providers, better reporting, patient safety features, quality improvement measures, and easier sharing of information with our regional referral centers for greater continuity in patient care.

The District also plans to expand the system to the Power County Family Clinic within the next year as well as look at further electronic applications and options for our long term care facility and residents. Leaving our ties to paper will be a difficult transition, but by next year, we hope to say that we would never go back. So get ready because the future technologies in healthcare are coming to PCHD!

Dallas Clinger, Administrator, Power County Hospital District

"...this system will also help improve and

assist all areas of the District in providing

care that is more efficient, consistent, and

better for everyone."

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Original Publication Date: September 14, 2011

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