City Hospital converts to new computer system

March 07, 2002|BY SARAH MULLIN

City Hospital in Martinsburg on March 1 converted to a new computer system, and aside from a computer glitch that shut down the system that night the conversion has been a smooth one.

The switch was flipped on the new system, called Meditech, at midnight, but at about 1:30 a.m. hospital officials and the on-site support staff for Meditech found an error within a file in the system's program, Chief Information Officer Elaine Roach said.

The system was back on line at 6 a.m., Roach said.

"It was a typical go-live situation," she said.

Roach said patient care was not affected by the shutdown. The hospital has a "downtime" procedure used by the staff in case the system has to be shut down.

Roach said the procedure is to go back to the old way of doing things manually.

She said she checks with Meditech technicians each day to get an update on their investigation into the problem that caused the shutdown.


She said there have been no delays in patient registration due to the conversion.

The installation and programing of the $27 million project began early last year and was done department by department, so the system caters to the specific demands of the 25 different departments and the numerous nursing units.

The hospital's 800 employees had to be trained to use the new system, she said.

"It was quit an endeavor," Roach said. "The staff still had to take care of the patients as well as learn this. It was a tremendous project."

Nursing systems coordinator Paula Foster acts as the liaison between the nursing service and information technicians and was in charge of training 300 nurses on the system. Training began in December.

There are about 100 nurses yet to be trained, she said.

"In my opinion the system is a lot easier and it makes more sense. The feedback I have gotten from people is that they can find what they need to find," Foster said.

She said some of the physicians have been enthusiastic about the change while others are having difficulty with it.

"We realize time is very important so we are trying to make it as easy and user friendly as possible," she said.

Foster said the system was designed with the user in mind.

Before the change, the hospital had used the McKesson Series 200 for 10 years.

Roach said a major benefit of Meditech is the fact that nurses, physicians and technicians will be able to view patient information at the same time from computer terminals across the organization, which will speed up the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

"Rather than do the paper chase, physicians will get results more quickly (from tests) so they can get to a diagnosis more quickly," she said. "It's pretty exciting stuff."

To protect confidentiality, Foster said, each person who has access to the system has a password and user name that must be used to gain access to the records of the patients they are attending.

Foster said the staff is still working out a few glitches, but none of the problems will affect patient care.

"I am very pleased with the outcome and where it is heading," she said.

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