Thursday, February 4, 2010

Setting the Standard for eHealth

Ronald Paulus, MD, MBA, and Executive Vice President for Clinical Operations and Chief Innovation Officer for the Geisinger Health System, discussed how effectively their health information system works.

Speaking at the eHealth Initiative’s Annual Conference held January 25-26 in Washington D.C., he explained how the system serves more than 2.3 million residents throughout 42 counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. This is accomplished through three main hubs, retail clinics, 60 plus a medical health sites, 48 distribute practices, and helps 1000 practices to have immediate access to information on their patients.

Paulus said that the Electronic Health System is fully integrated across all ambulatory and inpatient sites of care and has 3.5 million patient records on hand, 138,000 active users of “My Geisinger PHR”, and today 2,000 non Geisinger physicians are also using the system,

Geisinger has developed and implemented an advanced medical home. The medical home concept features a team to provide patient centered primary care, and high quality specialists are available for referrals. According to an article in the publication, “Health Affairs”, patient centered medical homes can improve care coordination and quality while reducing costs. The article points out that according to first year results, hospital admissions fell by 20 percent and total medical costs were down by 7 percent.

Geisinger has signed an agreement with Philips VISICU to launch the eICU Program® within six months that will ensure continuous remote monitoring of intensive care patients at the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville and the Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center near Wilkes-Barre. Geisinger will also consider making eICU services available to other hospitals in the region.

The eICU technology will analyze patient data from monitors, life support systems, electronic health records, medical orders, and other sources of information. The system will alert staff when a patient is trending toward a serious health event. eICU programs in general show a 29 to 64 percent decrease in mortality and a 50 percent decrease in patient length of stay.

Geisinger also has plans to implement the mobile version of the program eCareMobil to expand critical care support to post anesthesia and emergency departments temporarily transforming any patient bed with network connectivity into a critical care location.

Using the latest in telemedicine technology Geisinger recently partnered with Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg and Lewistown Hospital to expand stroke services in the Central Susquehanna Valley and Lewistown area. With this partnership, Geisinger’s stroke specialist is available to hospital patients 24/7.

Researchers at the Geisinger Medical Center recently received funding totaling more than $44,000 from the NYU Langone Medical Center (NYULMC) to develop a collaborative project to focus on personalized health care. By partnering with NYULMC, data will be collected from two very divergent populations allowing for collaborative research. Both institutions will integrate the data into their electronic health record systems.

This grant funding will enable Geisinger to administer electronic questionnaires to patients with osteoarthritis via new touch-screen monitors in its orthopedic clinics. Results from the questionnaires will enable physicians to track patient-reported outcomes.

For more information on the eHealth Initiative Annual Conference, go to For details on Geiginger’s eHealth activities go to