Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle announced Friday that Ministry Health Care will begin using an electronic health record (EHR) software suite developed by Marshfield Clinic -- CattailsMD -- for the majority of its hospitals and Ministry Medical Group, creating the largest patient database in Wisconsin.
"This is an important step forward in our efforts to reduce medical errors, increase patient safety and decrease health care costs," Doyle said. "With better use of information technology, we can transform our health care system to improve the safety and quality of health care."
"We are confident this significant IT investment will meet the health care needs of the patients we serve in Northern and Central Wisconsin," said Nick Desien, president and CEO of Ministry Health Care.
"I am gratified that the longstanding relationship between Marshfield Clinic and Ministry Health Care has been further strengthened by this agreement to extend our CattailsMD system to Ministry facilities, which will also greatly benefit our shared patients in the region," said Karl Ulrich M.D., M.M.M., president and CEO, Marshfield Clinic.
More than 1,000 providers in the Marshfield Clinic system, at Ministry Medical Group and Ministry hospital locations will share access to 2.5 million patient records. Implementation of the EHR for Ministry will occur over three to five years.
The EHR makes all patient medical information immediately accessible via computer to medical personnel involved in a patient's care regardless of where they are located. Currently, paper charts cannot be viewed by more than one person at a time and often need to be physically transported from one location to another, wasting time and adding cost.
Not only will the EHR improve access to patient records, it will provide clinicians critical information in an easy-to-read format. The EHR will also be more secure. It will allow access only to those providers involved in a patient's care, as well as track what information was accessed when and by whom.
As part of this agreement, Marshfield Clinic will provide planning, project management, implementation, training, customer service and technical support services to facilitate the installation of these clinical software applications.
Marshfield Clinic's Cattails MD is the first provider-developed ambulatory EHR in the nation to achieve Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) certification. It is used daily by more than 13,000 providers and support staff.
Widespread implementation of EHRs has been a top priority of Doyle since he took office. In 2005, he created the Wisconsin eHealth Care Quality and Patient Safety Board, which is charged with developing an action plan for the statewide adoption and exchange of electronic health records. Governor Doyle has provided millions of dollars in tax credits for automating medical records and he ordered Act 108 to reduce barriers for providers to access electronic health information, while still maintaining appropriate privacy measures.