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Mar 3, 2010 12:07 AM by Carina Corral

Three local hospitals to begin using electronic health records system

Catholic Healthcare West is spending $1 billion to implement an electronic health records system in all of its 41 hospitals, including French Hospital Medial Center, Arroyo Grande Community Hospital and Marian Medical Center.

The system allows a patient's medical record to be shared electronically, including acute care and community physicians, as well as medication bar coding to match patients to their prescriptions.

"This financial commitment is about preparing for a future that better integrates patient data with care delivery. Electronic health records will help ensure that we are able to provide quality, affordable health care in a compassionate setting," said Lloyd Dean, president/chief executive officer of CHW.

CHW first tested out the Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) at eight of its hospitals.

"The successes in our initial implementations have shown that partnering closely with our caregivers in the use of this technology does better enable clinical decision making," Ben Williams, senior vice president/chief information officer for CHW, said. "The ability to access patient information in a timely way, and to securely share that information within the hospital and with primary care centers, is paramount to this effort."

In a January 2010 decision by its Board of Directors, CHW approved an additional $419 million on top of a previously approved $590 million budget to deploy advanced acute and ambulatory clinical information systems over the next seven years.

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