3 hospitals go for big change

Hospitals are changing business as usual in favor of new approaches to care
By Bernie Monegain
01:57 PM
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Hospitals across the country are taking bold steps to improve care and transparency as the healthcare system as a whole changes. Here are three whose recent announcements reflect some of the big changes that are under way for the entire healthcare system. One is looking to new clinical and business models for delivering care, another has connected its heart program information to three data registries, and a third has made the entire EMR available to its patients. All three initiatives reflect a new approach to improving care and engaging patients.

Georgia Regents Medical Center
Georgia Regents Medical Center, Georgia’s public academic health center, announced a 15-year alliance with Royal Philips to enable increasingly patient-centered approaches to care and to create an innovative business model that addresses current and future clinical, operational and equipment needs of GRMC’s multiple sites.

The alliance – a $300 million deal – is a first-of-its-kind delivery model in the United States, according to executives at the health system and Philips. Through the agreement, the largest of its kind in the United States for Philips, the company will provide GRMC with a broad range of consulting services, advanced medical technologies, and operational performance, planning and maintenance services with pre-determined monthly operational costs over a 15-year term.

The alliance will broadly support the Georgia Regents Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of Georgia, Georgia Regents University Cancer Center and the health system’s numerous outpatient clinics, which serve the medical needs of four to six million people, across Georgia and South Carolina.

"Our goal is to foster an atmosphere of meaningful innovation that will have a significant and positive impact on the health of our patients,” says David S. Hefner, CEO for Georgia Regents Medical Center.

[See also: Georgia system, Philips sign $300M deal.]

Miami Children’s Hospital
The Heart Program at Miami Children’s Hospital integrated its electronic medical record with the three North American registry databases for congenital heart disease. The hospital became the first in the world to do so. Already known around the world for its IT leadership in the care of children with heart disease, the hospital's move promises a boost in patient care and safety.

The integration of the hospital’s Cerner EHR with registry databases for surgical patients, catheterization patients and cardiac ICU patients will also improve family access, research to better understand the genomics of congenital heart disease and enable public reporting of outcomes.

“The Heart Program has long been a pioneer in utilizing IT technology to enhance patient care, and physician and patient family access to care data,” said Redmond P. Burke, MD, director of Cardiovascular Surgery for The Heart Program at Miami Children’s, in announcing the move. “This latest system integration is one more step in our commitment to best practices. Our surgical and interventional outcomes continue to be among the best in the nation and our focus on transparency ensures a sustained operational focus on this goal."

[See also: Miami heart care gets integration boost.]

Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic gave a half million patients access to their healthcare information, including physician notes, via MyChart, a secure online portal.

Before the change, patients could view their after-visit summary, medications list, allergies, immunization records, preventative care details, laboratory results, and radiology reports. If they wanted to see the rest of their medical records, they had to contact the hospital to get hard copies of their EMR.

The new transparent MyChart EMR gives  patients access to pathology records, X-ray reports, physician notes, and the list of their current health issues, which physicians use to briefly describe a patient’s health status, recent concerns and known diagnoses. Patients can view online nearly everything their doctor sees in their EMR, except for behavioral health information, which is prohibited from release by state law.

“Patients continue to ask for more, and we feel that they need to have more information in their hands to be more engaged in their care, said Lori Posk, MD, medical director for MyChart.”

In Posk’s view, providing patients with this convenient access to all of their medical data will enable them to play a bigger role in their own care and allow them to better collaborate with their care teams.

[See also: Cleveland Clinic opens EMR to patients.]