MOUNT VERNON — The apology “Pardon our Dust” is synonymous with construction work, and Knox Community Hospital has its share of plant improvements as well as repairs from the recent electrical fire on its plate. During the first week of June, however, the hospital’s campus will shift into “Pardon our Bytes” mode as KCH rolls out its new Electronic Health Record (EHR) system.
The changeover from ink on paper to bits on disc will begin over the June 2-3 weekend and is expected to be fully phased in on Monday, June 4. The goal is for the switch to be as seamless as possible for patients and staff alike, and KCH hopes to make the transition look easy. If so, it won’t be because the project lacks complexity, but because of the extensive planning that backs it up.
“From start to finish, it’s been an 18-month project, and the training process has been formidable,” said Prema Samhat, the hospital’s director of marketing and community relations. “Initially it may take a few minutes longer than usual for people to register, but once we do the front-end work there will be much less repetition. As our staff gets used to the system and gains confidence, we’ll be more efficient than before.”
The individual most involved in the hospital’s transition to EHR is Vice President of Information Systems Kwi Holland.
“Whether you have 100 beds or 500, you strive to provide the best tools to your caregivers,” Holland said, “and the equipment for this project is very high quality. The biggest thing patients will notice is the use of computers in each room, and they may see staff members using sophisticated scanners to verify information.”
Cost of the project, which includes an intricate storage area network (SAN) and back-up, more than 200 computers and tablets, software and staff training, is approximately $6 million. That represents a major investment for a community hospital, and the project is being financed as part of a larger $37.1 million mortgage restructuring provided by InnoVative Capital LLC with backing by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“We are out there on the edge with this technology,” Samhat said. “Many smaller community facilities like ours have not yet been able to install these systems or are just beginning the process.”