Siemens turns focus to small community hospitals

By Mike Miliard
10:55 AM

Siemens Healthcare announced Monday a new commitment to delivering its Soarian technology to small community and rural hospitals, helping them improve outcomes and position themselves to achieve meaningful use.

“Rural and small community providers have the same challenge as urban and academic medical centers – do more with a shrinking pool of resources,” said John Glaser, CEO of Siemens' Health Services Business Unit.

He noted that "decreasing technology costs, increasing availability of high-performance networks and the opportunity to remotely manage many aspects of health IT" have positioned the company to bring enterprise-level technology to small and rural providers,  helping them "overcome traditional boundaries to health IT deployment, such as limited access to capital and to personnel.”

[See also:  John Glaser joins Siemens as CEO of health IT unit.]

Siemens officials highlighted some recent examples of Soarian implementations in small community hospitals.

In late July, Platte Valley Medical Center (PVMC), in Brighton, Colo., a 70-bed general acute-care facility deployed the full suite of Soarian Clinicals, helping it achieve an integrated electronic clinical documentation and medical record solution.

Deploying the technology across both inpatient and outpatient facilities, PVMC went live with computerized provider order entry (CPOE) capabilities supported by an EMR solution that included comprehensive clinical documentation – including plan of care and problem list – clinical decision support, medication management with bar code administration, critical care and emergency department technologies, a radiology information system interfaced to a picture archiving and communications system (PACS) and document management tools.

“It was clear to us that we needed a solid foundation to turn the corner in our ability to deliver an integrated solution to build a CPOE-centric, fully electronic health record," said Harold Dupper, chief financial officer, Platte Valley Medical Center. "Siemens brought stability and the peace of mind that we could achieve our goal of having one patient record with anytime, anywhere access."

He added that "the 'driving force' behind our implementation was the select group of physicians who gave dedicated time and worked for months along side the IT design teams to successfully create a solution which has proven to achieve the immediate and high adoption rate we needed for the 'big bang' to be a success. That type of physician engagement speaks to the transformational power of health IT.”

[See also: Small hospitals look to big vendors for clinical IT.]

Another recent implementation was at Palisades Medical Center (PMC), in North Bergen, N.J., a 202-bed hospital that recently went live with Soarian Clinicals. The staff at PMC turned to Soarian to reduce variation in the care process and to help improve outcomes, officials say. Having been operational for three months, PMC staff is further supported by Siemens Healthcare Managed Services to assist in the ongoing maintenance of the solution.

“Health IT deployments are complex undertakings and it was encouraging to see Siemens make such a strong commitment to a facility of our size, by ensuring that our target delivery date was met,” said John Calandriello, chief financial officer, Palisades Medical Center. “We needed to have Soarian Clinicals operational in order to begin working on our broad institutional objectives of beginning our push for meaningful use and Siemens helped us throughout the implementation and will be here to support us as we take our next steps.”