Ministry Health Care Partners with Marshfield Clinic to Create State's Largest Patient Database

MILWAUKEE and WAUSAU, WI—As announced last Friday by Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle in Madison, Ministry Health Care has chosen Marshfield Clinic-Cattails MD™ as the vendor for its electronic health record system.

After nearly two years of research and detailed planning, Ministry Health Care selected Marshfield Clinic-CattailsMD™ to provide electronic health record support for Ministry Medical Group (MMG) and all of Ministry Health Care. By choosing CattailsMD™, MMG will automate its medical records and combine them with Marshfield Clinic, creating the largest patient database in the state. More than 1,000 providers at MMG, Ministry hospitals and Marshfield Clinic locations will share access to 2.5 million patient records in central and northern Wisconsin.

"We are confident this significant IT investment will meet the health care needs of the patients we serve in north-central Wisconsin," said Nick Desien, president and CEO of Ministry Health Care. Implementation of the EHR for Ministry Medical Group will occur over three to five years.

This Information Technology strategy builds upon previous successful efforts.Ministry Medical Group in Weston already uses the Marshfield Clinic electronic health record to document and manage patient care.In addition, Saint Clare's Hospital and Saint Joseph's Hospital are currently linked to the Marshfield Clinic electronic health record.

The electronic health record makes all patient medical information immediately accessible via computer to medical personnel involved in a patient's care regardless of where they are located. Currently, paper charts cannot be viewed by more than one person at a time and often need to be physically transported from one location to another, wasting time and adding cost.

Not only will the electronic health record improve access to patient records, it will provide clinicians critical information in an easy-to-read format. Examples include a patient's complete list of medications, alerts for potential drug interactions or allergies, and overdue preventive care, thereby making significant improvements in patient care.

"I believe developing an electronic health record is the single most important thing we can do to improve the care we provide our patients," said Dr. Pete Sanderson, Director of Medical Informatics Operations for Ministry Health Care.

In addition to patient records being more accessible to a larger number of people, they will also be more secure. The electronic health record will allow access only to those providers involved in a patient's care, as well as track what information was accessed when, and by whom.

"It might seem ironic, but we strongly feel that technology is going to help our patients feel their care is more personal," said Dr. Sanderson. "The provider will have more information about the patient, be able to be more proactive with care, and have more time to spend providing care instead of searching for information in a paper record."

"In the end, our patients will receive better care, our physicians will be better able to focus on the practice of medicine, and our patient care teams will be more productive," he added.

"Ministry Medical Group's physicians and staff are very excited about utilizing the latest technology to improve the healthcare of the patients we serve," noted Dr. Stewart Watson, CEO of Ministry Medical Group."The Electronic Health Record will not only provide better access and continuity of care to our patients, but will significantly enhance safety through its many features such as computerized order entry and medication interaction and allergy alerts."

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