25-bed facility cites usability, savings for shift to cloud-based EHR

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Montgomery (W.Va.) General Hospital is shifting to a cloud-based electronic health records system after more than a quarter century using a server-based platform.

The 25-bed critical access facility in has been a user of Meditech’s electronic health records system for 27 years. Faced with the need of an upgrade of its servers and the current platform being out of favor with physicians, the facility became the first to adopt the vendor’s cloud-based Expanse EHR platform.

The hospital annually cares for more than 1,000 in-patients, 40,000 outpatients and 10,000 emergency patients.

Modern tools, minimal hardware requirements and streamlined implementation are among the initial benefits of the new platform, says Denzil Blevins, CIO at Montgomery General, which will start implementation in September.

Before the organization made a final decision, Blevins talked with other CIOs using the vendor’s systems, who told him that the biggest benefit of the shift would be happier physicians and patients taking advantage of a modern EHR.

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The hospital is seeking as much simplification as it can get with the new implementation, Blevins says. “Meditech will do the backups and will handle all the builds, and it will work with us on workflows,” he explains. “Meditech has its own workflows, and we will go with their best practices, and 27 years of accumulated bad practices will be gone,” Blevins adds.

Other benefits of the upgrade will include a monthly software-as-a-service subscription with minimal capital outlay and a predictable operational cost; streamlined contracting, including software licenses; implementation and data center operations for Meditech and vendors; accelerated implementation using best practices; and other best practices that alleviate operational responsibilities and put less strain on technical resources, which enables more focus on patient care and less on maintaining the EHR.

The vendor is doing much of the build for the EHR, so Montgomery General does not need as many added FTEs as would typically be needed, and that was a relief because the IT staff at the hospital comprises four IT professionals in-house and department managers.

However, not all the work will fall to the vendor, Blevins acknowledges, as the hospital will handle pharmacy formulary upgrades with First Databank. Montgomery General also will work with medical vocabulary vendor Intelligence Medical Objects, which will map processes for procedures and problem lists.

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