Just three weeks before the tornado hit, the Sisters of Mercy went live with a systemwide EHR system that connected its 22 hospitals in four states as well as its 1,500 integrated physicians in 200 locations, Britton said.
That roll-out “playing a big role in the hospital's recovery,” Britton said, as some 22,000 doctors and nurses were newly trained on the new system. They were able to use that experience to recover essential information for immediate patient-care needs, put together a workable EHR system in the weeks after the tornado, and ultimately restore the system to its full capabilities.
Reinforcing Britton's point, Showalter said the hospital campus right after the tornado hit looked like “it rained technology” down on St. John's, which was littered with broken monitors, component parts and cords and wires from more than 1,000 work stations.
One of the biggest benefits from having a newly installed EHR system was the fact that the hospital was able to print out copies of the medical records of the 183 patients who were admitted at the time and get those records into the hands of other hospitals and providers that took over their care, Showalter said. The medical records were available about 27 hours after the tornado hit, he said.
Another one of the benefits was that St. John's was able to confirm that all 183 inpatients were successfully moved from the destroyed facility, he said.