From an IT perspective, St. Joseph's Healthcare System's mission statement is strikingly uncomplicated: ensure that medical information is available as readily as possible. For Cavanagh, that means speeding St. Joseph's transition from paper-based charts to a completely electronic system.
"If everything is available from any workstation in the hospital, it cuts down drastically on the amount of time people spend waiting to get their hands on a chart so they can review and sign it," he says. "That's a big shift, but it's the core of where St. Joseph's Healthcare System is going. This will also ensure that physician's orders go into the system correctly, and cut down drastically on possible errors of data entry – what the physician intended will be extremely clear throughout the system."
With so much at stake and such high expectations, the pressure for medical professionals to excel is at an all-time high -- precisely why mastering health care information technology is so important to St. Joseph's right now.
"It's certainly a time where the stars have aligned," St. Joseph's CIO Jim Cavanagh points out. "There's a real need for health care to evolve, so it becomes more effective, more efficient, and more financially sustainable over time. Meanwhile, computers are getting faster and smaller, with better battery life and an increased capacity to hold data -- today, it's as easy to stream a movie from Netflix into your living room as it is for a physician to download and review complex medical images, no matter where they are. The people here are taking full advantage of those technologies."
St. Joseph's Healthcare System is recognized among the nation's 2012 MOST WIRED healthcare organizations, according to the MOST WIRED Survey released in the July 2012 issue of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine. The survey is conducted in cooperation with the American Hospital Association, McKesson Corporation, and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME).
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