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Maximizing medical-records retrieval

CareGroup Healthcare System says it is achieving a $1 million savings annually from a Web-based medical records retrieval system.

The application, called CareWeb, integrates the clinical databases of two Boston-area hospitals and provides immediate access to the integrated patients medical records at both locations. Now the primary database repository for all of the clinical systems at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the solution is based on Caché e-DBMS from InterSystems.

CareGroup’s move to an e-business healthcare model began with a proof of concept and went live with Web access to patient medical records from Beth Israel and Deaconess hospitals. Clinicians at both facilities can now access a patient’s records, including a complete set of emergency data, via Web browsers in just two seconds. The result--especially critical in emergency room scenarios--is faster medical intervention and a higher level of patient care, according to hospital officials.

Savings in the million-dollar range are derived from administrative reductions in clinician search times, patient admit processing time and training time.

CareWeb was developed in about six months for approximately $250,000, and the ROI will be even greater in terms of new revenues than in the annual cost reductions already realized, says Dr. John Halamka, CareGroup CIO.

“Building on success, we’re effectively putting the entire managed care process on the Web,” he says. “Ultimately, patients will be given the ability to review their records on the Web and to interact directly with their doctors via a secure messaging application. That will make it possible for patients to clearly realize the unique value-added services delivered by CareGroup.”

Dr. Halamka estimates an annual revenue increase of $3 million to $4 million because of the new business opportunities generated by the market differentiation made possible by CareGroup’s e-business approach.

With annual revenues of $1.2 billion and a network that includes six hospitals, 2,500 providers and 800,000 patients treated annually, CareGroup is the second largest integrated delivery system in the Northeastern United States.

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