Small hospital books big ROI

New Hampshire hospital reaps clinical, financial benefits from integration engine
By Bernie Monegain
07:09 AM
Cottage Hospital

Cottage Hospital, a critical access hospital in Woodsville, N.H., has saved more than $100,000 over three years since it rolled out interface engine technology.

The integration technology has been vital in positioning the 25-bed hospital as a trailblazer for health information exchange, enabling it to become an early participant and supporter of the New Hampshire state health information exchange, according to hospital executives. The hospital also completed the requirements for Stage 2 meaningful use on March 31.

Three years ago, with its integration needs expanding, Cottage Hospital began evaluating interface engine technology and selected Summit Express Connect from Braintree, Mass.-based Summit Healthcare. Summit executives bill Summit EC as "intuitive, scalable technology with a short learning curve."

[See also: Integrating patient-generated data into EMR: Which road to travel.]

In 2012, the hospital went live with the technology, which today supports the clinical integration between its Medhost health information system and third-party applications. Leveraging integration technology at its core, the hospital now benefits from integration and rapid access to critical information for clinical decision makers, which helps support more informed patient care, patient safety and quality initiatives.

As Summit Healthcare CEO Ted Rossi sees it, Summit Express Connect provides an integrated dashboard for quick, easy and proactive monitoring of a hospital’s interface landscape, which can go a long way for a small IT department.

Also, the interface engine has inherent mapping technology that makes it possible for Cottage Hospital to easily manipulate and resend electronic lab reports, screen shots and text messages to the New Hampshire HIE.

[See also: Analytics integration spots unseen risks]

This level of integration was difficult to achieve, challenging to maintain, and costly when operating in a point-to-point interface environment. Connecting with its community physician practices was also a vital component of Cottage Hospital’s integration strategy, which has been achieved. Today, the hospital sends lab results to physician practices in both New Hampshire and Vermont, connecting to the physicians’ EHRs.

Cottage Hospital has more than 50 interfaces live, and has saved more than $100,000 in interface cost savings alone since implementing the interface engine. Hospital executives expect the ROI to increase, as the hospital continues to grow its interoperability environment, and as it factors in time and resource operational savings. 

"The decision to implement the Summit Express Connect interface engine technology has had a resounding effect within our organization in both our clinical and financial departments," said Rick Frederick, director of information technology at Cottage Hospital, in a press statement. "Summit Healthcare as a whole has been great to work with, from a solid technology platform to excellent resources supporting the product."

"They are truly a progressive organization," Rossi said of Cottage Hospital.

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