Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Altru has new, $28 million IT system

Easier-to-read bills and better online access for patients are two improvements officials at Altru Health System said they're anticipating from a new, $28 million information system that will start Feb. 9.

Easier-to-read bills and better online access for patients are two improvements officials at Altru Health System said they're anticipating from a new, $28 million information system that will start Feb. 9.

Once the system is in place, Altru patients will receive one consolidated, monthly bill that itemizes services and indicates the amount owed.

"If you come to the clinic and require hospital care, we're combining those two systems into one," Dwight Thompson, Altru chief financial officer, said. "The people in our business office are looking forward to this as much as our patients are."

Altru patients will receive phone calls before appointments to verify personal and insurance information.

Also, in spring, patients will be able to make appointments, refill prescriptions and pay bills online through a system called MyHealth.

ADVERTISEMENT

As with many facilities nationwide, Altru has been looking for ways to cut costs, while still modernizing electronic medical records, as well as improve connections between hospitals and clinics, officials said.

Thompson said the $28 million is being paid from operations from 2008 through 2011.

"We've had it in our capital budget starting back in 2008," Thompson said. "Most of it will be paid by the end of this year."

No job cuts

Thompson said Altru does not anticipate cutting jobs, but he said the changeover to the new system will "touch pretty much every employee" from 200 physicians and 3,800 staff.

"We've had about 800 training sessions scheduled in the first couple months of 2010," Thompson said. "It'll take a little bit of time to get used to, so we're asking people to be patient."

The software comes from the Wisconsin company Epic and is used by more than 175 health care systems and 150,000 physicians with more than 76 million patients, said Sarah Kotelnicki, Altru Corporate Development, in a press release.

Evanston Northwestern Hospital in suburban Chicago reported significant reductions in medication errors and infections from at-risk patients because of Epic's improvements to record keeping, according to an article in "Health Care's Most Wired." The hospital, which has twice the staff as Altru, invested $42 million in Epic and has reported $17 million per year in savings, the article said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Epic will be implemented across all Altru departments and regional clinics by November.

For more information, there is a public open house from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at Altru Clinic-Main.

Reach Johnson at (701) 780-1262; (800) 477-6572, ext. 262; or send e-mail to jjohnson2@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: HEALTHCARELOCAL BUSINESS
What To Read Next
Josh Sipes was watching an in-flight movie when he became aware the flight crew were asking for help assisting a woman who was experiencing a medical problem.
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.
Crisis pregnancy centers received almost $3 million in taxpayer funds in 2022. Soon, sharing only medically accurate information could be a prerequisite for funding.
The Grand Forks Blue Zones Project, which hopes to make Grand Forks not just a healthier city but a closer community, is hosting an event on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Empire Arts Center from 3-5 p.m.