Going online

The Memorial Hospital installs new computer system

Workers are installing the equipment and on Nov. 4 hospital employees will "go live" with its new $750,000 computer system, Human Resources Director Alice Rigney reported at Wednesday's TMH board meeting.

"We're excited, but nervous," Rigney said. "But I've been through conversions before and I'm sure we'll do OK."

The current computer system at TMH was installed in 1990, and Rigney said TMH has been in need of a new system because of significant changes in technology and health care in 12 years.

"We're going to be light years ahead of where we are now," she told board members Wednesday.

Hospital employees will be able to provide faster and more accurate entries of patient billing, clinical and financial data.

Rigney said one example of improved health care with the new system is that every IV pole, which are moved from room to room, will have an individual computer attached to them containing data about the patient.

Manual filing of everything from medical data to billings will be minimized because everything that happens in the hospital will go directly into the computer system, Rigney said.

Unlike now, every hospital employee will have to be familiar with the new system, she said.

"For some it's more than a conversion," she said. "It's going on computers for the first time."

Writing data on clipboards will be a practice of the past, said Chief Financial Officer Roger White.

"Instead of writing a patient's vitals on a chart, it's immediately put into the system," he said. "All information will be transported from the mobile system into the main computer."

TMH Administrator Randy Phelps said the transition to the new system should be transparent to patients at TMH, but said it will lessen the likelihood of communication errors between hospital departments and personnel.

"Information will be shared across departmental lines, but it will be a much safer system," he said. "We're reducing the chance of transcription and people errors."

The Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees in December approved a lease finance agreement

with Custom Programming Services, Inc. of Dallas for a new computer system.

TMH will lease the new system for about $180,000 a year over the next four years, at which time the hospital can claim ownership of the system.

Rigney said Custom Programming Services, Inc. trainers would be at TMH until Nov. 22.

Officials have also said the system is mobile, and could be moved into a new building if a new hospital were built.

By contract, Custom Programming Services, Inc. employees will return to the hospital and install the system in a new hospital at no additional expense, Phelps

has said.

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