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Ten obstetrics practices give birth to one DM system

When it formed in 1998, Louisiana Women’s Healthcare Associates had the daunting task of merging 10 separate medical practices into one 17-doctor obstetric and gynecologic facility.

That meant consolidating the individual infrastructures, procedures and paperwork of each practice into a single comprehensive system. Included in that task was incorporating the records of 55,000 patients from 10 different charting systems. Each doctor had 4,000 to 6,000 individual patient charts.

“We had to decide whether we wanted to [consolidate] with paper or with computers,” says Tom Schmidt, CEO of Louisiana Women’s.

The healthcare organization eventually chose an automated solution that integrates Fortis document management software from Westbrook Technolgies with the Medical Manager billing management application for doctors.

“Right now doctors go in the exam room with a small, hand-held computer with a writing surface,” Schmidt explains. “As they speak to the patient they retrieve the record on the computer. New information is taken down on paper, then it is scanned into the system after the examination.”

Louisiana Women’s Healthcare took the solution a step further by incorporating Westbrook’s Fortis PowerWeb to provide access to information via the Internet. It also allows doctors to connect to the information database via a secure Web link.

The ob/gyn facility intends to incorporate PowerWeb into its Web site to provide patients with access to certain information.

“We want patients to become more active in their health. That’s the whole paradigm of healthcare,” Schmidt says.

Internet access also will ultimately provide patients with educational information about women’s health issues, individual test results and even video AV files for sonograms.

The solution at Louisiana Women’s Healthcare Associates recently won Kinetic Information’s Vision 2000 Award and its Healthcare Vertical Market Solution Award.

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