Newport News, Va. – Riverside Health System was named one of the nation's Most Wired health systems for the ninth year in a row.


»Riverside implemented an Electronic Medical Record more than 17 years ago

»We have been at the forefront of barcode medication administration

Hospitals & Health Networks' annual Most Wired Survey takes into account a number of key measures spanning technology infrastructure (such as disaster recovery capabilities and regular security assessments), business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety (such as computerized physician order entry for medication orders) and clinical integration (including use of electronic medical records).

"Riverside has consistently been named ‘Most Wired' because it invested early on in promising, worthwhile technology and continues to do so," said Dennis Loftus, Senior Vice President/Chief Information Officer for Riverside Health System. "A great example of Riverside's early adoption of leading edge computer systems was the decision to implement an electronic medical record (EMR) in its physician practices over seventeen (17) years ago.  Riverside was at the forefront of barcode medication administration, uses telemedicine to save lives and prevent unnecessary hospital admissions and expenses, and is always looking for what's next when it comes to implementing meaningful technologies that will benefit patients."

Telestroke video

Play video to see how telemedicine is helping stroke patients

What's new: Telemedicine
A patient arrived at the emergency department at Riverside Tappahannock Hospital with what the emergency department team suspected was a stroke. The physician and nurses immediately connected to Riverside Regional Medical Center to consult the neurologist on call. Using a highly precise video conferencing tool, the neurologist saw the patient and the patient's CT Scan of their brain and confirmed the patient was experiencing a stroke. As a result, the emergency department team was able to administer a clot-busting drug to prevent the onset of a stroke and -called for a medical helicopter to transfer the patient to Riverside Regional Medical Center, where the patient recovered.

In another case, another patient showed up at the emergency and was suspected of undergoing a stroke. The team connected with Riverside Regional's "on-call" neurologist who concluded it wasn't a stroke. The patient was monitored in the emergency department before being sent home with a good outcome.

"Without this technology, in all likelihood, the patient would have been admitted to the hospital," Loftus said. "The patient would have stayed two or three days before being discharged.  This type of technology helped prevent an admission and resulted in doing the ideal thing for the patient."

PeraTrend how it worksWhat's next: The Rothman Index

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Riverside is in the process of implementing the Rothman Index, a system that was developed as a result of a death in a Florida hospital that could have been avoided. In this case, an elderly woman was hospitalized.  After a few days, she, seemed to be improving and was about to be released. Then, she took a turn for the worse and died in the hospital. The hospital agreed to work with her sons to analyze her case. The brothers examined hard data (e.g.vitals, tests results, etc.) and compared the hard data with subjective data assessed by her nurses and other caregivers.  As a result, the brothers developed an algorithm and system to help predict risks to a patient who, on the surface might appear to be improving nicely.

"We're very excited about this new type of technology and hoping this tool will help save lives and/or prevent readmissions to the hospital," Loftus said.

Where it all started: Electronic medical records

Riverside began implementing electronic medical records in physician practices in 1996, at a time when fewer than 1 percent of all physician practices had automated the clinical side of their practices.

Now, the electronic medical record (EMR) system is used by Riverside Medical Group's (RMG) physicians.   RMG is a large and diverse multi-specialty physician group consisting of approximately 500 providers.  A patient's medical history – such as immunization history, medications, allergies and diagnostic tests -- is extremely valuable in helping to care for our patients.  There are over one million unique people in Riverside's EMR database. "In some cases, the patient's medical record spans 17 years of history.  And, throughout all of this, Riverside has put in safeguards to secure the data and protect the privacy of the individuals for whom we care. " Loftus said.

It is an honor to be named one of the Nation's "100 Most Wired Hospitals and health Systems".  This is Riverside's ninth year in a row and is a testament to the commitment of Riverside's leadership to invest in technologies that make a difference in terms of caring for our patients.  This recognition aligns nicely with Riverside's mission and the Riverside Care Difference – to keep our patients safe, to help heal them, to be kind to them and to respect their wishes.

Published: August 28, 2013