The 100 Most Wired Hospitals, including MeritCare, use information technology to reduce errors, improve care and streamline business. Data shows these hospitals show better outcomes in four key areas: mortality rates, patient safety measures, core measurements and average length of stay.
At MeritCare, being named Most Wired is exemplified by several projects:
- Digital Imaging - MeritCare has become a digital organization. Rather than relying on hard-copy imaging films (X-rays, CT scans, MRIs), staff are able to view images, lab work and other tests from radiology, cardiology, pathology and pharmacy online. For example, a doctor in Jamestown or Bemidji can consult with a specialist in Fargo while they both securely look at the same patient images.
- Electronic Patient Record (EPR) - MeritCare currently has one of the most well-developed EPR systems in the nation. The vast majority of MeritCare patient medical records are available online, which means they can be accessed quickly and from any MeritCare location (no waiting to locate the paper medical chart). To achieve this, all paper documents are electronically scanned to create a completely paperless charting system.
- Meritcare.com - MeritCare's Web site offers an extensive library of health information with over 6,500 topics, a quality guide to help patients make better health decisions, hospital and clinic bill payment, daily health news feed, a variety of e-newsletters and the ability to view wait times for MeritCare's Walk-In Clinics in Fargo.
- Digital Cardiology System - Heart tests such as echocardiograms and cardiac catheterization images were previously displayed on VHS tape, DVD and on separate computer systems. They are now digitized and consolidated onto one network available across the downtown Fargo campus and to cardiologists at their homes. The new system also includes a completely computerized physician documentation process.
- Wireless Computer Access for Patients - Both the downtown Fargo hospital and South University hospital now have wireless computer access for patients and their families with planned expansion to other locations.
- Videoconference Network - An expansive videoconference network is in place in over 26 MeritCare locations throughout the region and will be expanded in the coming year. The technology allows easy connection to health systems across the country for sharing knowledge and advancing our expertise. It also allows the opportunity to serve remote or underserved areas.
- Electronic Document Management - Software that combines document management, business process management and records management in a single application. This allows MeritCare to automate business processes, reduce the time and cost of performing business functions, improve organizational efficiency, and address the need for governance, risk and compliance through the management and control of content from virtually any source. This also facilitates the sharing of digital content with employees, business partners, customers and other audiences.
For more information about this award, visit hhnmag.com. For more information about MeritCare, visit meritcare.com.