NRMC joins MU info alliance to share records

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Nevada Daily Mail

Nevada Regional Medical Center has joined a network of 11 Missouri hospitals and physicians' groups that are upgrading statewide services by sharing patients' electronic records.

A University of Missouri Health Care spokesman said from Columbia that the network, the Tiger Institute Health Alliance, involves some 750 doctors and health care providers "who are using this new technological tool to improve patient care.

"The Tiger Institute, mid-Missouri's only health information exchange, is able to share information instantly," spokesman Colin Planalp said in a news release.

"The exchange makes information such as laboratory results, medications and medical histories in one hospital's records available to physicians at other hospitals and clinics, helping to provide them a more complete picture of their patients' health."

NRMC Chief Executive Officer Judy Feuquay said Wednesday that the group guarantees privacy and confidentiality. "This kind of alliance is able to share electronic records and do it in a very safe and private way," Feuquay said.

"We have been working on this for awhile. It was always in our planning when we decided to go with the Cerner System because the Tiger Institute is one of their business partners. They do a really fine job. It's important to have current, up-to-date, accurate information when you're treating patients. It improves the quality of care you are able to give.

"We're excited about this. It's part of our onward and upward climb to improve services."

Planalp quoted an MU Health Care cardiologist, Dr. Kevin Dellsperger, who had been working with the Tiger Institute. "Before this, if I had a patient come to me from Jefferson City because of a heart condition, I had to contact his primary care physician to have a copy of his medical records mailed or faxed to me," Dr. Dellsperger said.

"That could take a day or two. Today if my patient's physician is a member of the health information exchange, I can log into my electronic medical records in my own office and instantly view his records before his appointment."

Planalp said the exchange "is a secure computer system that stores key pieces of patients' records so they can be shared by health care providers.

"Patients at member organizations are offered the option to join the network and make their records available to all providers throughout the system. More than 85,000 patients have signed up to join the exchange since February 2012."

Tiger Institute Manager Mike Seda said in the news release that the alliance "is an important new tool for patient care in central Missouri.

"As the system grows, it becomes even more valuable for patients and health care professionals across our region," said Seda.

Planalp said University of Missouri Health Care garnered heady recognition for the project when it was included last November in a group of only 100 organizations nationwide to achieve Stage 7 of the HIMSS (Health Care Information and Management Systems) Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model. "Stage 7 is the most advanced level of EMR technology implementation," he said.

"Last July, MU Health Care was named by the American Hospital Association's Health & Health Networks magazine as one of the '100 Most Wired' health systems in America and by U.S. News & World Report as one of the '200 Most Connected.'"

Tiger Institute Health Alliance members other than Nevada Regional Medical Center and MU Health Care are Capital Region Medical Center and Community Health Center of Central Missouri, both in Jefferson City; Jefferson City Medical Group, Carroll County Memorial Hospital, Cooper County Memorial Hospital, Dr. Robert W. Sparks of Kirksville, Rusk Rehabilitation Center of Columbia and in the northeast part of the state, Samaritan Hospital of Macon and Scotland County Hospital.

Planalp said MU Health Care, Capital Region Medical Center and Jefferson City Medical Group "are actively sharing patients' medical records at the current time."

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