Baptist Health Systems one of first in nation to
By Pamela Berry
When making life and death decisions about patient care, it's often
critical to have information that is timely, accurate and readily
Cheryl Gladney uses a Pocket PC with TouchWorks Dictate Software
wireless connection to check patient statistics as part of a new
program that helps doctors keep better track of their patients' needs
and also allows them to make notes that can be transcribed within
|Cheryl's now with
Premier Medical Group
At the Baptist Health Systems, hospital officials have
addressed those concerns by acquiring new medical software that
utilizes the technology of handheld computers. Baptist is one of the
first healthcare systems in the nation to acquire the software.
Called TouchWorks Dictate, the software automates the
most common tasks doctors perform, including taking verbal notes on
patients by wirelessly sending the information to be transcribed
When doctors check out the 4-by-6-inch computers at
the start of their shift, the units are already preloaded with their
schedule for the day and the location of their patients.
When visiting patients, doctors also can use the units
to display anatomy diagrams and other information such as descriptions
of drugs to aid in explaining medical procedures to patients.
Dr. Cheryl Gladney, an internal medicine physician,
said the software allows her to spend more time with her patients and
less time on preparing paperwork.
"Touchworks Dictate definitely makes dictations more
convenient," Gladney said. "I always have access to a dictation center
with this dictation service in my pocket, and therefore I can perform
my dictations more efficiently so discharge summaries will be sent to
referring physicians in a more timely manner."
Gladney said the software also will aid in reducing
errors by streamlining the dictation process because notes can be taken
during the patient visit. Notes must be accurate, she said, because
they are often shared with referring physicians and nurses.
Brandon resident Wanda Reed said she was impressed
with the new software.
"Anything that will cut down on errors in hospitals is
a good idea," Reed said.
The hospital purchased 200 licenses of the units from
Allscripts Healthcare Solutions.
"Leading-edge technology from TouchWorks gives Baptist
an advantage in our highly competitive market, where medical facilities
do not directly employ physicians and several major medical facilities
compete for the attention of physicians," said Rick Caldwell, Baptist
Health System vice president and chief information officer.
While the new software also is being used to insure
proper billing, it also could be expanded to include patient laboratory
results and prescriptions.
Maribeth Slinkard, director of the Mississippi Medical
Information Network, said many doctors, including those hesitant to use
traditional computers, are embracing the handheld units.
"Depending on the savvy of the physician, training
usually takes 30-35 minutes," Slinkard said. "Their reaction is usually
to ask, 'What else can I do with it?' It's a great production tool."