A healthy dose of content management by ProQuest

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The Obama administration's huge funding effort to create a nationwide network of interoperable electronic health records has been called the biggest thing that's ever happened in health information technology. Not entirely paperless, but "paper light" is the term Cathy Fuhrman's team has coined for operations at San Diego-based Sharp HealthCare, an integrated delivery system with four acute-care hospitals and three specialty hospitals. Fuhrman, manager of information systems, and her staff have worked diligently over the last five years to integrate Hyland Software's OnBase imaging solutions with the health system's major financial and clinical applications. Meanwhile, simplifying the distribution of reports and cutting down on paper costs has long been a goal of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center's finance team. With the implementation of Open Text's Report & Output Management Suite, the multisite medical center in northern New England has been able to create a repository for its PeopleSoft reports that users can access via a Web-based front end.

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									                                                                                                                                                By David Raths
Hospital prescription:



 A
healthy dose
of content management



       he Obama administration’s            says Alan Pelz-Sharpe, a principal       the whole picture. They have a lot of     there is always paper in the system,”

T      huge funding effort to create a
       nationwide network of interop-
erable electronic health records
                                            at CMS Watch (cmswatch.com)
                                            covering enterprise content manage-
                                            ment technologies. “Joining up the
                                                                                     drivers in terms of cost containment
                                                                                     pushing them to embrace a culture of
                                                                                     information management.”
                                                                                                                               says Fuhrman.
                                                                                                                                   OnBase is integrated into appli-
                                                                                                                               cations to link documents that origi-
(EHRs) has been called the biggest          clinical and administrative, not to         Despite the challenges they face,      nate outside those systems, so that
thing that’s ever happened in health        mention the insurance part, is a         the following examples illustrate         clinicians or administrators have
information technology.                     spectacular challenge.”                  how some healthcare IT leaders are        access to them from within line-
    In fact, the American Reinvestment         A hospital has many small depart-     approaching the content manage-           of-business applications. One exam-
and Recovery Act of 2009’s HITECH           ments and people don’t tend to think     ment problem. Some are indeed             ple is in routine pre-anesthesia
Act, which promises to spend close to       outside their department, he says.       tackling departmental or individual       evaluations before elective surgeries.
$20 billion on the use of technology in     Deploying enterprise content man-        pain points, but as their stories sug-    Referrals are faxed to the hospitals,
healthcare, has even been compared to       agement solutions is difficult when      gest, once a solution proves itself, it   along with relevant medical infor-
NASA’s manned spaceflight mission to        there are so many interlinking ele-      often spreads to other areas of a hos-    mation. Then the patient comes in for
the moon in the 1960s.                      ments in the healthcare chain, and       pital or health system.                   a meeting and physical exam. Previ-
    The federal government will offer       nobody really owns the overall                                                     ously kept in a stack of paper files,
Medicare and Medicaid bonuses to            process from beginning to end.           Integrated imaging                        those results are now all stored in
physicians and hospitals that demon-        “There is usually not one unifying       solutions                                 OnBase and available to the surgeon
strate “meaningful use” of interopera-      solution,” Pelz-Sharpe says, “but lots      Not entirely paperless, but “paper     at the click of a mouse.
ble, certified EHRs starting in 2011.       of departmental solutions.”              light” is the term Cathy Fuhrman’s            When she talks to other executives
    But converting patient records from        Strategically, some healthcare        team has coined for operations at         in the field who haven’t made as much
paper to electronic is only half the bat-   providers have looked for a univer-      San Diego-based Sharp HealthCare          progress on integrating paper-based
tle. On both the clinical and adminis-      sal system to organize content, but      (sharp.com), an integrated delivery       documents, Fuhrman says they seem to
trative fronts, healthcare providers face   the fact is they have so many IT sys-    system with four acute-care hospitals     think it has to be a “big bang” solution
daunting knowledge management               tems implemented that many have          and three specialty hospitals. Fuhrman,   that costs a lot of money. “We started
challenges in bringing together infor-      backed off and reverted to pilot or      manager of information systems, and       with a low-cost solution in the claims
mation from legacy, siloed depart-          departmental systems, says Karen         her staff have worked diligently over     department of our HMO, and once we
mental systems and from business            Strong, a director of the Houston-       the last five years to integrate Hyland   saw that it worked, we rolled it out
processes traditionally done on paper.      based Gimmal Group (gimmal.com),         Software’s (onbase.com) OnBase            incrementally to other departments,”
    For a number of reasons, the            a consultancy that helps clients with    imaging solutions with the health sys-    she explains.
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