New Network Connects Froedtert & Community Health Partners
Milwaukee, WI (April 27, 2009) — Froedtert & Community Health is the second hospital organization in the nation and the first in the Midwest to join a new network, called Care Everywhere, that lets separate healthcare entities share medical records. As members of Froedtert & Community Health, St. Joseph’s Hospital and the West Bend Clinic can now use Care Everywhere to electronically send and receive medical information over the Internet in seconds, giving physicians the information they need to immediately begin treating a patient.
As more West Bend residents see Medical College of Wisconsin physicians, Care Everywhere will help facilitate high-quality, cost-effective care.
“Care Everywhere solves a major problem in the transition to electronic health records by creating a pathway for separate organizations to exchange information,” said Rick Gillis, MD, medical director of health information for Froedtert Hospital and associate dean for clinical informatics at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “Until now, hospitals and clinics had to be on the same computer system, configured exactly the same way, to share information. Care Everywhere creates a bridge between systems, enabling doctors to quickly see a patient’s medical history, previous diagnoses, lab tests, medications, allergies, physician’s notes—the crucial information they need to provide timely, appropriate care.”
Created by Epic Systems Corporation of Verona, Wisconsin, the Care Everywhere network is a nationwide information exchange among separate Epic electronic medical records systems. It was a low-cost, quick way for Froedtert & Community Health members to share medical records without building an expensive, new electronic medical records system.
Gillis said the Care Everywhere upgrade cost about $60,000 and was accomplished in about six weeks, compared to millions of dollars and years to build a new system.
The three hospitals that make up Froedtert & Community Health — St. Joseph’s, Community Memorial Hospital in Menomonee Falls, and Froedtert — as well as the West Bend Clinic all use the Epic system to manage electronic medical records, but as is typical throughout the healthcare industry, the systems are configured differently so they can’t exchange information. The Care Everywhere network bridges the gap.
According to Epic Systems, its customers include many of the nation’s largest healthcare providers, representing some 70 million patients’ medical information. The Care Everywhere network is a means of linking these organizations without having to invest in rebuilding computer systems.
“Care Everywhere a big step toward tying healthcare information systems together for better care,” Gillis said. “Our experience shows it can be done quickly and affordably.”
Author: Kathy Sieja
Last Review Date: April 27, 2009