Health Information Exchange Featured Article

July 30, 2012

Friends, Not Competitors: Hospitals Jointly Buying EHR Systems

Today, even though more doctors and hospitals are using electronic health records (EHRs), not enough are seamlessly connected to allow clinicians at different sites to share information, as the digital healthcare revolution has promised.

But in a remote corner of southeastern Missouri, it’s happening. According to a story, a contract has just been signed by Southeast Hospital, a 280-bed facility in Cape Girardeau, and Missouri Delta Medical Center, a 162-bed hospital in nearby Sikeston, to go in together on a joint inpatient EHR system.

A new EHR, from Siemens, will provide “an integrated suite of financial and clinical modules including clinical documentation, order entry, lab, pharmacy, emergency department care and patient billing,” the story notes.

Even better, the technology is costing millions less than had the two hospitals bought the system independently.

"For the last five years, we saw Missouri Delta as a competitor," says Jim Limbaugh, executive vice president planning and business development at Southeast Health."Well, we can't look at the world that way anymore. Now we look at them as partners."

After more than a year of discussion, the two hospitals, which had initially begun independent searches for new EHRs, eventually realized they had plenty to gain if they could somehow pull off the search, purchase, implementation and deployment jointly. "We figured it would make sense to partner regardless of which system we use," quoted the story.

It’s also happening in Texas. Though much smaller than the Missouri organizations, but double the number coming together, four hospitals are installing the ChartAccess EHR from Houston-based Prognosis Health Systems. Stonewall Memorial Hospital, Anson Memorial General Hospital, Stamford Memorial Hospital and Throckmorton County Memorial Hospital, none of which has more than 45 inpatient beds, have all made the decision to partner with each other.

In a recent story on “connected hospitals,” U.S. World & News Report listed the top 156 hospitals that were leading medicine into the digital age. To make the list, hospitals had to have successfully adopted EHRs and reached Stage Seven of meaningful use requirements (full use across the hospital).  

Edited by Brooke Neuman