RUTLAND - Taking a bold step toward becoming a major player in the New England health-care industry, Rutland Regional Medical Center kicked off a $15 million integrated medical information system development project Jan. 26.
RRMC employees joined officials in the hospital's community room to learn more about the big project and how it will change the way they handle medical records and other related data.
The new computer software-based hospital information system is aimed at improving the way RRMC conducts its medical business throughout the region.
When completed in late 2011, the system will perform as a regional "medical network" that will be used by physicians, caregivers, technicians, pharmacists, even accountants and clerks, involved in the day-to-day running of RRMC.
The new ultra secure system, dubbed affectionately SNOW-short for Simple Navigation to Online Wisdom-will also improve patient privacy and streamline internal and external communications, according to RRMC CEO Tom Huebner.
"We know from our patients and other customers that managing their information excellently is critical," said Huebner. "We need to do a great job of coordinating the care of patients both within and outside of the hospital. It simply can't be done without an electronic medical record system (like SNOW). When SNOW is ready, we will be ahead of 95 percent of all U.S. hospitals."
SNOW will enable security cleared RRMC employees to access medical information immediately-from the hospital, from their own offices or from other agencies. RRMC patients will benefit by increased privacy and time savings as they move from doctor's office, to hospital, to pharmacy or nursing home.
Created by Cerner Corporation, based in Kansas City, Mo., SNOW evolved between 2009 and 2010 after 20 vendors had submitted proposals. Cerner, a leader in medical data technology, won the contract bidding process in May 2009.
Money for the multi-million project is being generated by RRMC as well as by U.S. taxpayers through the U.S. Government's massive, and largely untapped, economic stimulus package.
(Look for an enhanced version of this news story, along with a photograph, in next week's Rutland Tribune.)