Sunday, June 29, 2008

WI Moving Ahead on Tech

On June 24, the Governor of Wisconsin Jim Doyle made the announcement that nearly $1 million in grants from Wisconsin’s Universal Service Fund Telemedicine program will be awarded to several non-profit health organizations around the state. The grants will help clinics purchase telecommunications equipment to promote advanced medical services especially to underserved areas.

The non-profits are going to use the funding to provide education and training, purchase telehealth units to use in emergency rooms, purchase AEDs and cell phones to communicate with the AEDs, use funding to expand psychiatric services, to establish remote pharmaceutical dispensing, to purchase home health monitoring systems, videoconferencing equipment, point of sale systems, pharmacy workstations, and computed radiology systems.

In March 2008, the Public Service Commission awarded $450,820 in grants to 23 nonprofit organizations in Wisconsin to facilitate affordable access to telecommunication and information services.

Also in March 2008, the Commission made an application package available for the Telemedicine Equipment Grant Program for FY 2008 and 2009. Due to budget uncertainties, the Commission decided to solicit grant applications for both the current fiscal year and the next fiscal year. Available grant dollars to award for the combined years are likely to range between $500,000 and $1,000,000.

In another move to help the state, the Governor announced that Ministry Health Care will begin using an electronic health record software suite developed by Marshfield Clinic. Karl Ulrich M.D., President and CEO Marshfield Clinic said “I am gratified that the agreement extends our “CattailsMD” system to Ministry Medical Group facilities.”

As part of the agreement, Marshfield Clinic will provide planning, project management, implementation, training, customer service and technical support services to facilitate the installation of the clinical software applications.

“CattailsMD” is the first provider-developed ambulatory EHR in the nation to achieve CCHIT certification and the system is used daily by more than 13,000 providers and support staff to provide integrated applications, work flow management tools, care management capabilities, and a shared data repository. Now more than 1,000 providers in the Marshfield Clinic system at Ministry Medical Group and Ministry hospital locations will be able to share access to 2.5 million patient records.