HIMSS touts impact of its Hurricane Katrina health IT donations effort

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HIMSS’ Katrina Phoenix EHR project – in action since September of last year – is a task force built from a multi-disciplinary advisory group to track electronic health record (EHR) vendor donations to in-need practices in the effected region. The effort is now seeing live-execution of the donated technology at two Louisiana and three Mississippi practices, HIMSS said.
       
"After a recent visit to the New Orleans region, I am now even more dedicated to the Katrina Phoenix vision to aid practices obliterated by the hurricane," said Patricia Wise RN, MSN, MA, project leader, HIMSS vice president. "The intensity of need is incredible, and the practices we visited are exceptionally grateful for the level of EHR donations we are able to offer."
       
Waveland Medical Center is a recipient of the Katrina Phoenix EHR project. The donation represents big progress to the practice, which did not bill patients until October 2005, because of damage to its paper-based patient records.
       
"The extent of damage depended on where your chart sat on the shelf," said Lynn Murray, medical assistant at Waveland. "The EHR will benefit us because it will be backed up somewhere else. At this point, we’re starting from zero and we have a hard battle but we’re ready."
       
Though there have been many hurdles, the project has compelled competing vendors to coordinate for sustainable systems. The project also addresses education for physician through a mentoring program designed to help them transition to the new workflow called for due to the technology involved.
       
Contributing EHR vendors to the Katrina Pheonix project include: A4 Health Systems, Companion Technologies, Greenway Medical Technologies, HealthLanguage, InteGreat, JMJ Technologies, Lakes Health Systems "MerCure", MD Synergy, MedcomSoft, MedicAlert Foundation, MediNotes Corporation, Medpracticeflow, MedQuist, Misys Healthcare, Optimal Practice Solutions, OptimizeIT, Practice Partner (PMSI), RedMedic, SoapWare, SRIT, and TeleVital.