Matagorda Regional Medical Center is a hospital district licensed for 58 beds in the county seat of Matagorda County, Bay City, Texas. Matagorda County is a rural, medically underserved, health professional shortage area-designated community on the Gulf Coast region of Texas, approximately 90 miles southwest of Houston and 90 miles southeast of Victoria. The county has a service area of approximately 1,114 square miles and a population of 36,978. The two major population centers are the incorporated cities of Palacios (5,034) and Bay City (17,672).
IT Case Study Contest nominee: Matagorda Regional Medical Center, Bay City, Texas
MRMC is the only Level 3 trauma center in the county and treated 16,348 patients in the emergency department in fiscal 2010. The nearest trauma centers are that of Houston's Memorial Hermann hospital (Level 1), approximately 77 miles to the northwest, and Richmond's OakBend Medical Center(Level 3), approximately 59 miles to the north. The poverty level is 21.2%, and we had 89 deaths related to heart disease, which is 21% above the state average. With more than 2,735 patients admitted and cared for in MRMC, we continue to grow and to give quality medical care to our community and all those in need.
We fortunately have one full-time cardiologist who lives in Houston. He commutes here to operate a cardiology clinic as well as perform diagnostic heart catheterizations, pacemakers, IVC filters and aortograms. We average 34 cardiology procedures a month. Twenty-four-seven coverage is difficult for one physician; therefore, our IT department has implemented the telemedicine patient assessment project. We are currently upgrading our EHR system for meaningful use, which is inclusive of PACS for radiology, cardiology, laboratory and all other medical services related to direct patient-care delivery.
MRMC is using an Internet Web camera site source for secure remote patient assessments. We have employed a physician's assistant, who is actively training in cardiology to assist the cardiologist. The cardiac cath lab R.N. and the house supervisor are also participating in the remote assessments. Telemedicine was implemented on March 4 and introduced to the Medicine Intensive Care Committee on April 28. The system features an electronic stethoscope that serves as a microphone and remote communication device to monitor breath, heart and bowel sounds .The cardiologist in turn can view the patient live and give real-time instructions to improve overall patient care. MRMC would like to bring neurology to our community through telemedicine.
We have completed a detailed IT meaningful-use and operational assessment and implementation timeline as of March. We plan to implement applications, optimize our current systems functionality, provide process reengineering and train current personnel in all the requirements to achieve meaningful use.
MRMC will hire a project manager, restructure our IT department and focus on improving quality, safety and efficiency by engaging front-line employees in EHR training directed by a project manager. We plan to engage patients in their own care by involving them in quality committees, and we have held patient focus groups on marketing strategies. We have Wellness Matagorda and our nurse practitioner, physician assistant program to extend physicians practice and promote a Wellness Center construction on our campus. The EHR system has implemented programs to provide absolute encryption, privacy and security. The reward of EHR and telemedicine is bringing specialty care to rural areas where patients are in need and lack medical access.
Mary Ann Cervantes is IT director of Matagorda Regional Medical Center, Bay City, Texas.
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