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Digital files at University Hospital will free up space, funds

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The move to electronic records is freeing up valuable real estate in University Hospital, allowing it to consolidate some services. It is also providing a bridge for collaboration between University and nearby Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics.

The switch to electronic records will allow area facilities, such as University Hospital and MCG, to exchange information about patients.  University Hospital/Special
University Hospital/Special
The switch to electronic records will allow area facilities, such as University Hospital and MCG, to exchange information about patients.

From a room stuffed with row upon row of bulging files, Health Information Services now looks long and wide and empty. University's board voted Thursday to provide $250,000 to renovate the space and buy new furnishings that will allow it to consolidate several services into one place.

Among other things it would save University about $50,000 in rent it is paying to house one department in another building, said George Ann Phillips, the administrative director of revenue cycle. The move to electronic records has also helped to save on paper costs and eliminated the need for the equivalent of 15 full-time employees, she said.

It is also the basis of a new partnership among Augusta hospitals and between University and MCG.

The two are meeting today to continue to work on details of the Augusta Metro Health Information Exchange, which will eventually allow the hospitals to share electronic records and other health information.

While the information exchange is required by federal stimulus legislation, collaborating is also the right thing to do, said Jim Davis, the CEO of University Health Care System.

"It's a very complex deal but we think, joining forces, we can get it done," he said.

It would also address the fact that patients and doctors don't use just one facility, said Sandra I. McVicker, the interim CEO of MCG Health Inc., which runs the health system.

"We do realize, certainly, that patients in this area go from hospital to hospital," she said. "And it would be so much better for the patients, as well as the physicians and the people trying to take care of these patients if we had accessibility to records and specific kinds of health information."

The two are also working together on a community needs assessment required by the recently passed health care reform act, which also seems to be a good fit, Davis said.

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WiseOldMan
8
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WiseOldMan 08/28/10 - 01:09 am
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Electronic records is the way

Electronic records is the way to go. I, myself, am in the process of going paperless, too. I threw away my last printer 2 years ago. I now save important documents and other things in Portable Document Format
(.pdf). Flash drives are cheaper than ink and paper, plus file organization is a snap. Keep a backup (or 2) of your most important documents for heavens sake...

disssman
6
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disssman 08/28/10 - 05:48 am
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Oh how sweet. They only

Oh how sweet. They only intend to spend $250,000 to renovate and buy some furniture and that will help to improve the system. If I am not mistaken, every office at university has computers and they look up patients on those machines and use them to bill patients. So where is that IT function located? Further, there is no such thing as a paperless system which is a buzz word to be P.C. Ask yourself "when was the last time you went to a doctor and left without a single piece of paper"? I shudder to think of the number of records that will be lost or misplaced during the transition, are they really going to transcribe doctors hand written notes currently written on patients history records?

justthefacts
25483
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justthefacts 08/28/10 - 07:18 am
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Really dissman, you are out

Really dissman, you are out of touch. Hang in there bud.

jbenny2010
272
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jbenny2010 08/28/10 - 07:28 am
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Dissman, my doctor has been

Dissman, my doctor has been keeping notes on a PDA for years. Nobody writes stuff in files anymore. As long as they have offsite backups of the files, this is a great idea. Finally, someone wants to act like we're in the 21st century.

countyman
21687
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countyman 08/28/10 - 07:41 am
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Progressive Augusta!

Progressive Augusta!

OhWell
326
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OhWell 08/28/10 - 08:25 am
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I am a coder in a doctor's

I am a coder in a doctor's office and I am the last person to touch claims before they are filed, everything I need to code the chart and bill either the patient or insurance is there for me, demographic information, insurance information and the doctor or PA' s note. We have been this way for years

gaspringwater
3
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gaspringwater 08/28/10 - 12:14 pm
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Go digital and enrich the

Go digital and enrich the hacker's world. Digital is certainly more convenient but it ups the risk for theft and loss. You can free up valuable space at University Hospital by just renting outside storage space. It's a common business practice.

corgimom
38773
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corgimom 08/28/10 - 12:38 pm
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My doctors are now all

My doctors are now all digital. Works for me.

And of course, we know that University Hospital has NEVER had a problem with employees stealing info from patients' files. *snort* So no worries, Gas.

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