Last updated: January 17. 2014 8:28PM - 1607 Views
HEATHER RUTZ hrutz@limanews.com

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LIMA — Hospital officials from the Netherlands wanted a real-life example of electronic records improving patient care. When they asked software provider Epic for a place that using it well, Epic’s answer was St. Rita’s Medical Center.

Nine officials from St. Jansdal Hospital, about 40 miles east of Amsterdam, made St. Rita’s one of their two stops Friday in a whirlwind trip to the United States. The group arrived in the country Tuesday and had previously visited a children’s hospital in Orlando, Fla.

St. Rita’s visit was more helpful because it is more like St. Jansdal, said Jan Voorburg, a member of the hospital’s board of directors and a retired cardiologist. St. Jansdal is a 341-bed regional hospital; St. Rita’s has 425 beds.

“We have the same characteristics and same atmosphere and same culture, so it was nice visiting,” Voorburg said.

Jan Roelofsen, an IT specialist and project manager for St. Jansdal, who is also a nurse, said the hospital’s current electronic record system needs to be replaced. The hospital, which was already using a fairly advanced system, needed Epic to show “a better implementation” of an updated system, so Epic suggested St. Rita’s.

“We saw some neat things today, and realized what we really want,” Roelofsen.

St. Rita’s is at the forefront of electronic medical records and was the first in the world to use Epic’s MyChart Bedside application, allowing patients to use tablet computes to access medical information and contact healthcare providers. In the pilot, 34 patients have received tablets from St. Rita’s (or used their own Android tablets) since late August.

Catholic Health Partners, Ohio’s largest health system and the St. Rita’s parent company, plans to roll out the application to its 23 hospitals after a successful pilot now finishing at St. Rita’s.

Catholic Health Partners responded to Epic’s request to host the group, CHP Chief Medical Information officer Stephen Beck said.

“We wanted to be excellent hosts and show best practices, but also share the challenges of implementation,” Beck said. “We’ve found with the pilot that patients are more engaged in their own care. Patient response has been outstanding. The group was able to speak with a patient today, and it’s nice to hear a patient saying what they like about it. It’s not just us saying that.”

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