Kadlec, Prosser hospitals partner to share patient records

Kadlec Regional Medical Center and PMH Medical Center (formerly Prosser Memorial Hospital), both in Washington state, will be able to share patient records through a central database, therefore, easing patient transfers and cutting down on redundant tests and phone calls, the two hospitals announced yesterday.

Careful not to call it a merger, hospital officials said that public PMH and private, nonprofit Kadlec are entering into a nonbinding agreement, reports the Yakima Herald-Republic. Many Prosser patients are referred to Kadlec so the integrated data could prove beneficial to the two organizations and their patients.

"It's what the patient thinks is already happening," PMH CEO Julie Petersen said. "They're puzzled when we're still faxing things back and forth."

Although the hospitals didn't offer a timetable in how long the integrated system would be up and running, Prosser said it costs $7,200 per month on its current system.

As other hospitals make the transition to electronic health records and information sharing, many are still plagued by the associated costs. More than half of healthcare executives are concerned (31.7 percent) or extremely concerned (24 percent) about the costs of making a full transition to electronic medical records, according to a recent U.S. News & World Report health poll.

Kadlec is known for the landmark credentialing case in which the courts found that hospitals must disclose some information about their medical staff members to other institutions when providers move on. The move toward patient record sharing could indicate a greater emphasis on information sharing for patients' sake.

For more information:
- read the Yakima Herald-Republic article

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