An EHR hits close to home

Regular readers might recall that my dad chose to have surgery last November at Washington Hospital Center in D.C. rather than at a hospital closer to home, because the surgeon preferred the WHC facilities and because the other place had been in the news at the time for its high rate of hospital-acquired MRSA infections.

I didn’t mention the other hospital at the time because I didn’t think it was necessary, but I will tell you now that it is Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md. It’s relevant now because McKesson announced this morning that Suburban has contracted to deploy Horizon Clinicals and Horizon Enterprise Revenue Management for EHR, CPOE, medication managment and revenue cycle management.

I couldn’t find an online link to the press release just yet, but here’s the text:

News Release

Suburban Hospital Healthcare System Selects McKesson for Healthcare IT Transformation
Initiative focused on enhancing clinical excellence and financial performance

ATLANTA, March 30, 2009 – Recognizing that information technology (IT) can play a key role in enhancing care quality, safety and efficiency, Suburban Hospital Healthcare System decided to perform a healthcare IT transformation – and it was looking for a vendor to provide a comprehensive integrated solution. As a result, the Bethesda, Md., hospital selected McKesson to empower the initiative with the Horizon Clinicals® clinical and revenue management solution suite. Once the project is complete, Suburban will have a comprehensive electronic health record (EHR), an automated medication management system, and an integrated revenue management information system – a combination designed to differentiate Suburban in a highly competitive local healthcare environment.

“One of the major objectives of Suburban’s strategic plan has been to seek advanced information systems that would enhance our position as a technology leader and further support our mission of clinical excellence. As we searched for a partner, McKesson emerged as a clear leader,” said Christopher Timbers, chief information officer at Suburban. “McKesson impressed us with both its comprehensive technology offering and commitment to service and support. We felt they really understood what it requires to successfully implement their systems and to help us achieve our objectives for quality patient care.”

Suburban plans to replace its older technology with the advanced Horizon Clinicals solutions suite, used by more than 2 million clinicians nationwide. One element of Suburban Hospital’s new automated medication management process will be implemented at the patient’s bedside. Using a hand-held device, nurses will electronically scan a bar code on the patient’s wristband and each medication’s label, and the information will automatically appear in the patient’s EHR. This helps to ensure the “five rights” of patient safety – right patient, right drug, right dose, right time and right route. In addition, Suburban Hospital physicians will place medication orders electronically using McKesson’s computerized physician order entry solution and will use a secure Web portal to obtain immediate, secure access to patient information anytime and anywhere.

Suburban also will implement McKesson’s new revenue management solution, Horizon Enterprise Revenue Management™. This integrated revenue management system will automate Suburban’s operational and financial processes to more efficiently connect it with payors, financial institutions, physicians and consumers. In addition, tasks that were typically performed after discharge will now be carried out as early as the beginning of the patient pre-registration process. For example, information needed to better inform patients of their treatment options and assist in meeting regulatory requirements will be collected upfront. In addition to shortening the payment cycle, this proactive gathering of information should streamline patient interactions with the hospital while dramatically improving workflow efficiency and productivity.

“We’re honored to have the opportunity to work side-by-side with Suburban on such a large clinical and financial transformation” said Pamela Pure, president, McKesson Technology Solutions. “Our team is committed to helping Suburban reach its full potential by harnessing the power of the most up-to-date technology to deliver the best care possible to its community – benefiting clinicians, patients and their families.”

About Suburban Hospital Healthcare System

Suburban Hospital has served the greater Washington, DC region since 1943 with several centers of specialized care, state-of-the-art technology, and community-based wellness programs. Through strategic partnerships with some of the country’s most prestigious medical institutions, including the National Institutes of Health, National Naval Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Medicine, Suburban Hospital is able to provide a level of emergency, stroke and cardiac care that is available in very few medical centers. In addition to being a state-designated Level II Trauma Center, the hospital’s continuum of care is distinguished by a certified Primary Stroke Center; the NIH Heart Center at Suburban Hospital; and centers of excellence in orthopedic care, neurosciences, and oncology.

About McKesson
McKesson Corporation, currently ranked 18th on the FORTUNE 500, is a healthcare services and information technology company dedicated to helping its customers deliver high-quality healthcare by reducing costs, streamlining processes, and improving the quality and safety of patient care. McKesson is the longest-operating company in healthcare today, marking its 175th anniversary last year. Over the course of its history, McKesson has grown by providing pharmaceutical and medical-surgical supply management across the spectrum of care; healthcare information technology for hospitals, physicians, homecare and payors; hospital and retail pharmacy automation; and services for manufacturers and payors designed to improve outcomes for patients. For more information, visit

It doesn’t indicate how long the deployment will take, but let’s call this progress.