News | Published January 11, 2013 | Written by Oct. 19, 2012, R. Brock Pronko, regional business analyst

Health providers seek better, more coordinated care with electronic health records

Editor’s note: Excerpt reprinted with permission from Pennsylvania Business Central. 

“One of the reasons we launched our ‘One Record’ initiative this year was to make sure we have all the relevant information regarding a patient and his care at the point of care, which might be at a physician’s office or a hospital or an inpatient stay,” said Wayne Thompson, Mount Nittany [Health]’s chief information officer.

While paper records can be destroyed in a fire or flood, electronic records can be backed up on site and off site for when “hiccups” occur with computers, as happened recently when the computer system at Mount Nittany [Health] crashed.

“We have several layers of protection against loss, the first is that our data is mirrored, meaning a backup of all our electronic data is maintained at all times in the environment, so that if you do have an issue with your primary data, you can grab that information from a mirror image,” said Thompson.

“Beyond that, we make copies of the electronic information daily, hourly in some cases, and move it to a remote electronic location so that in the event we lose both our primary and mirror copies, we can still remotely access that data electronically.

We make a third layer by transferring our electronic data to tape, and storing that backup tape offsite.”

While healthcare reform doesn’t impose a deadline for ensuring that all information within a health system is shared everywhere, it does have “meaningful use” criteria, which requires that certain kinds of abilities are prevalent in all organizations. For example, the ability to share information with another disparate health provider is one requirement. For patients to have some interrelation electronically with the organization is another requirement.

To learn more about Mount Nittany Health's movement towards One Record, visit mountnittany.org.

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