On April 23, Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital (VWCH) will transition to new clinical and information technology (IT) systems to enhance care coordination and provide a more consistent patient experience.
The transition will include a new electronic health record (EHR), lab and imaging systems, medication dispensing cabinets and other specialized clinical systems. It will also include administrative applications, such as Microsoft tools, and access to a 24/7 Help Desk for additional technical support.
After careful planning, which included consideration of the health and safety of patients, employees and vendors, the IT team decided to move forward with its original April go live date amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The team opted to do so primarily because the new software and infrastructure will allow VWCH teams to enhance care for all patients, including those admitted with the virus.
The hospital expects that patients should experience no disruption in care during the transition.
“This IT implementation is the culmination of many months of work and several million dollars of investment. It is just one more way that Vanderbilt Health is demonstrating a commitment to quality and safety in Wilson County,” said Jay Hinesley, MHA, president of VWCH.
Thanks to the new systems, providers at VWCH will now have visibility into the care their patients receive at all Vanderbilt Health clinics and hospitals, making the transfer of care easier when patients require specialized care at another location.
Using Epic as the hospital’s new EHR, VWCH providers will also be able to view a patient’s record from any other site in the world that uses Epic, giving them additional insight into the patient’s medical history for more informed clinical decision making.
To support the new systems, the hospital has invested in new clinical workstations, refreshed lab equipment, new printers and scanners and other best-in-class technology to help staff and providers do their jobs more efficiently. The hospital has also been outfitted with faster and more reliable wireless networks and additional tools for encrypting clinical communications.
“We think this significant investment reflects the commitment we’re making to VWCH and the patients we serve in the area. Improvements in IT equipment and infrastructure will make VWCH one of the most well-equipped hospitals in Middle Tennessee,” said Sarah Hagovsky, MBA, Chief Information Officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center IT.
Ease of access for staff is also enhanced, as the new EHR provides a single location for accessing patients’ medical information. The system will seamlessly integrate multiple clinical systems, including the Emergency Department, lab, blood bank and radiology, and many systems can be accessed remotely using virtual desktops and mobile devices.
“We’re excited for VWCH to complete its IT transition to VUMC’s systems,” said Neal Patel, MD, MPH, HealthIT Chief Information Officer at VUMC. “Care teams will be able to leverage key patient safety and care delivery tools and have a more seamless flow of information not only through VWCH but also other VUMC entities.”
To help smooth the transition, experts in the new system will be on-hand in the hospital to provide one-on-one support to users. Both a technical and operational command center will also be in operation.
The transition will impact everyone at VWCH who uses a computer, including roughly 600 employees and 200 community physicians who practice at the hospital.