New record keeping system started, official says

A two-year effort at upgrading all medical record keeping systems at Medical Center Hospital was met with success, an official told members Tuesday of the Ector County Health District’s Board of Directors.
MCH Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President Gary Barnes also told the board that the patient revenue system has been upgraded and likewise met the April 1 deadline to go live.
Barnes credited the efforts of the workers who committed themselves to making the system-wide upgrade a reality. The new electronic records system, which is known as MCH1, is expected to cost the hospital more than $55 million over five years but officials said would offer a cost savings of $7.2 million.
MCH bought the system from the Kansas City-based health information technology company called Cerner. While the aim behind the upgrade is to simplify patient information and billing the move toward going with an electronic medical record system was also to meet federal regulations regarding record keeping.
Barnes has assured that the system will be hosted in Kansas City and that security protocols will be adhered to locally to forestall any attempt to hack into the new system.
Barnes has explained that MCH has been on a full electronic medical record system for the past four and a half years, but that the upgrade would represent a transition to a fully integrated electronic medical record system. This means that one system that can integrate record keeping information for both inpatient and ambulatory settings; one system for the region; and one for Medical Center Healthcare System.
Two-hundred and fifty people were expected to have helped in the go live effort, with roughly 2,800 people having to be trained by a company called Conduit. Anyone who doesn’t pass the simulation training will not get to have a security code, Barnes has said.
Barnes’ report was greeted with applause from the hospital board members.
“It was a tremendous 24-month effort,” Barnes said after the meeting.
In other news Gary Ventolini, regional dean and professor at Texas Tech University Health Services Center announced to the board that 25 students who’ve graduated have found residency programs to continue their medical education.
The board also briefed about the district’s financial obligations during the past five months ending on Feb. 28.
So far, the year-to-date of uncompensated care obligations amounted to more than $35,914,000, a figure which towers above the tax revenues received by the healthcare district of more than $18,222,000.
This leaves a shortfall of more than $17,692,000.