Regional Medical Center Anniston: Making tech work for people

'The staff understands that priority and it plays a part in everything we do'
By Jack McCarthy
10:48 PM
Regional Medical Center Anniston

At Regional Medical Center Anniston, Chief Information Officer Pete Furlow says his IT department is pushing forward to lay out its technology roadmap in keeping with government requirements – but at the same time its staff strives to help physicians and nurses improve workflows based on the their individual needs.

For a relatively small hospital IT department of 20 staff members supporting a hospital with 338 beds, RMC Anniston's IT department has developed a sense of camaraderie based on close communications and keeping an eye on the goal of improving patient care.

"Even though we don't provide 'bedside patient care,' everything we do does play a part in the care of our patients," Furlow said. "The staff understands that priority and it plays a part in everything we do."

The Alabama hospital's IT department, like that of virtually every other hospital, has spent the past several years transitioning to an electronic environment from paper, introducing electronic orders, nursing documents,  prescriptions, physician documentation, voice recognition technology for physician note-taking, and more.

As for its meaningful use compliance, the hospital is at Stage 2, Year 1 level, meeting all its regulatory objectives and requirements.

"Meaningful use drives some of this activity, but we continuously look at how we can improve not only technology processes and workflows but also how technology can help us fill any gaps we feel need to fill," Furlow said.

So the department is continuously reaching out to the entire hospital staff to improve workflows.

"The industry has been paper oriented for so long that change is hard for everyone," he said. "We take each physician and each nurse and treat them individually to assist them and help figure out what works best for them."