SUPERIOR – The Mineral Community Hospital announced a series of glitches in a computer system that was implemented in March.
The announcement came during the monthly board of directors meeting on April 24, however, this comes as no surprise to many patients and staff members who have had negative experiences since the technology has been used by the hospital.
However, the implementation of any new technology can always be a slow transition.
Dr. Roger Pafford said that employees and patients should keep in mind that the NextGen representatives were surprised by the failures the hospital encountered, and did not have answers at this time for the problem.
NextGen is an electronic health record system that allows healthcare professionals to view patient charts electronically as well as leave comments on why the patient is visiting the hospital that day.
From a patient perspective, Ray Fredette, Doctor of Nursing, believes NextGen is a quality product but has drawbacks.
A representative from the NextGen clinical team will return to provide additional training to clinical staff, especially nursing and medical providers said Larry Putnam, interim CEO for Mineral Community Hospital.
“As with all hospital computer conversions, there has been about a 45-day delay in processing bills through the new system, which has slowed cash flow,” Putnam said.
Deb Green, business office director for the Mineral Community Hospital reported user errors are still being identified and training is continuously taking place.
About a month after NextGen launched, the hospital reported that the system went down for most of the day and hospital staff were forced to convert back to paper.
Green further addressed the first week when the system was implemented and went down for a full day.
“We asked again if it was shut down because of server space, that never really came out as the issue,” Green said.
To help process patient records, the emergency room may be another area where an extra computer is needed to help with processing the data into the system, Dr. Pafford said. Right now, doctors and nurses in patient rooms designate two computers for use. An additional staff member might also be needed.
Putnam believes that the MCH team will continue to work with NextGen to eventually resolve all difficulties of implementing this new system.
“One of the issues we’re trying to get addressed is the size of the server and server space,” Green said. “When we were doing testing in January, NextGen had to shut the system down because we ran out of server space. At that time we only had 300-400 accounts on the system.”
NextGen had informed the hospital of an update to the program the day the system was down, and said the update was the most likely cause of the outage. NextGen will likely inform the hospital in the future of scheduled updates so there can be some preparation for the staff in case of a system outage.
“We don’t lose data and haven’t lost data as it should be backed up in the NextGen system,” Green said.