Vidant completes conversion

Published 9:46 pm Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Beaufort County’s two hospitals and those medical practices affiliated with Vidant Health have completed their conversion to computerized records, Vidant Health officials said.
The move, which took less than a year, will mean better patient care and improve communication between medical practitioners, said the president of Vidant Beaufort and Vidant Pungo hospitals.
“This is no small feat and it took tremendous coordination and hard work on the part of many people to make it happen,” said Harvey Case, president of the two Beaufort County hospitals. “Our transition to electronic health records will help us improve the way we deliver care to our patients. Our (electronic) system will provide information to a patient’s health-care team right when they need it, improve quality and convenience of patient care and will improve accuracy of diagnoses and health outcomes.”
Also part of the switch, along with the Washington and Belhaven hospitals, was Vidant Duplin Hospital in Kenansville.
The move to electronic health records at the three hospitals cost an estimated $12 million, according to the announcement.
The addition of the three hospitals to Vidant Health’s electronic system means that nine of Vidant Health’s 10 hospitals, some 56 medical practices affiliated with Vidant Medical Group, several departments within East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine and a private pediatric practice in Winterville are now connected to a central electronic health record, according to the announcement.
“Vidant Health has made a significant commitment to connecting our hospitals, physicians and providers across the region through our EHR,” said Stuart James, chief information officer at Vidant Health. “Connecting our two newest hospitals, Vidant Beaufort and Vidant Pungo, in less than a year, is evidence of our commitment to invest in the health-care infrastructure of Beaufort County.”
Having complete medical information available electronically will give doctors and physicians assistants more time with patients, instead of searching through paper records, James said.
An electronic system will give rural doctors and health clinics quick access to patient information for consultations with specialists, he said.
As a result of the move, doctors and other clinical staff will have convenient, timely access to appropriate information through one secure system, according to James.
And by extending the service to health-care providers not affiliated with Vidant Health and by providing access to others, the system has the potential to fully connect health providers in eastern North Carolina into one computer-based system of medical records and represents Vidant Health’s commitment to keep clinical care connected across its 29 county service area, James said.
Dr. Paul Garcia, the assistant chief of staff at Vidant Beaufort Hospital also praised the move.
“Prior to coming here, I utilized the Vidant (electronic) system, and it made an enormous difference in amount of time saved treating my patients,” Garcia said. “Most importantly, it reduced replication of services, decreased medication errors and made reading a physician’s handwriting easier.”
The Vidant electronic system contains almost 1.5 million patient records, according to the announcement.
In addition to medical providers affiliated with Vidant Health, more than 2,500 other providers access the system and about 1,000 patients have secure access to their records.