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Importance of interoperability for Critical Access Hospitals

About one in five Americans live in a rural community, and often their only healthcare options are Critical Access Hospitals. It’s vital for these organizations to overcome challenges common in rural healthcare delivery, such as distance, isolation and limited resources.

North Country Hospital (Newport, Vermont, U.S.A.) is a Critical Access Hospital tucked into the far northeastern corner of Vermont, serving 22 communities across two counties. At a recent meeting for clients that use Allscripts population health solutions, Clinical Applications Analyst Carol Casey and Director of Clinical Informatics Kate Pierce shared how they’re using healthcare information technology to help this rural community take better care of patients.

The pros and cons of a single-system approach

Pierce explained that North Country’s IT Steering Committee wanted to improve physician access to all information about the patient, not just the information within the hospital’s system. But the hospital, clinics and emergency room all used different software vendors. Initially, the organization planned to move to a single platform to achieve this goal.

“When you go to a single vendor system, you end up giving up functionality for integration,” Pierce said. “So we needed to come up with a way to get some integration…communication and ability to exchange data between systems without having to rip old systems out.”

Instead of moving to a single platform across the continuum of care, the North Country IT Steering Committee changed its approach to find a platform that could work with different vendor solutions. It selected the Allscripts dbMotion SolutionTM, an EHR-agnostic interoperability platform.

Casey, who has been involved with the implementation and testing of dbMotion, is looking forward to launching the solution with clinicians. “I’m excited about having dbMotion because right now, our clinicians and nurses are having to look into three or four places to get clinical data,” she said. “We have end users doing testing now, mostly on the physician side, and they’re seeing great benefits.”

To learn more about building a connected healthcare community with dbMotion, visit our website.

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