The Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative Information Technology Network in Sauk City has received its funding commitment from the Federal Communications Commission to spend nearly $1.6 million over five years to bring improved high-speed broadband connectivity and data-line redundancy to four south central Wisconsin critical-access hospitals, two physician clinics and two collaborative data centers that are members of the regional health information organization.
Participating thus far are the 35-bed Boscobel (Wis.) Area Health Care; 25-bed Memorial Hospital of Lafayette County, Darlington; 61-bed St Joseph's Community Health Services, Hillsboro; 25-bed Tomah (Wis.) Memorial Hospital; and two physician clinics in Wonewoc and Elroy, according to Louis Wenzlow, chief information officer for the network.
Weve already built significant portions of the network, Wenzlow said, with partial funding from a separate, $1.6 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration.
Theyre all connected to a shared data environment, Wenzlow said. The RHIO will push enterprise clinical and financial software from Healthcare Management Systems to the hospitals and electronic health-record software from MediNotes interfaced with HMS financial software to the physician offices, he said.
Hospitals in the Wisconsin RHIO range from those just getting started with an IT program to Tomah Memorial Hospital, which is very close to going paperless, Wenzlow said. The goal is to consolidate services to members and then branch out, he said. Our focus will be first and foremost on the small hospital environment."
Read more on the FCC grants in Health IT Strategist's two-part series.