The survival of hospital emergency departments (EDs) and the necessity of electronic health records (EHRs) to transform care quality in the ED are discussed in a new podcast interview featuring guest interviewee Robert Hitchcock, M.D., F.A.C.E.P., " />
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New Podcast From T-System CMIO Robert Hitchcock Examines Emergency Departments in Crisis

Podcast Highlights ED Trends and Growing Use of ED-Specific EHR Solutions to Optimize Care Operations (October 24, 2011)

DALLAS, TX -- (Marketwire) -- 10/24/11 -- The survival of hospital emergency departments (EDs) and the necessity of electronic health records (EHRs) to transform care quality in the ED are discussed in a new podcast interview featuring guest interviewee Robert Hitchcock, M.D., F.A.C.E.P., T-System, Inc., vice president and chief medical informatics officer. The interview, moderated by Doris Gilman, editor and publisher of Health Thought Leadership One-to-One, can be downloaded at

Health Thought Leadership One-to-One is a blog and monthly podcast series that discusses and documents ideas of thought leadership demonstrated inside and outside healthcare and life sciences businesses. The blog features case studies, podcasts, posts and comments from invited guests and visitors that showcase best practices and the wide range of creative ways that business thought leadership is expressed.

In the first half of the 33-minute podcast titled "Hospital Emergency Departments in Crisis," Hitchcock discusses the ED's critical role in the hospital and as liaison for community providers, in addition to its financial challenges in today's economy. The ED care setting is oftentimes taken for granted as patients and consumers assume there will be computerized access to patients' EHRs for unexpected visits.

"In this modern day of competitive healthcare delivery, the emergency department really is the front door to any hospital facility," comments Hitchcock. "The emergency department accounts for about 75 to 95 percent of the total patient care episodes in any given facility and is responsible for about 45 percent of the overall hospital revenue. About 40 to 60 percent of the admissions to an inpatient setting... come through the emergency department. So you can see that it is an absolute critical aspect of the facility's continued function."

Hitchcock acknowledges the continuing trend of EDs closing during the past decade, and he notes that the primary drivers for an ED's success and failure are mainly tied to financial viability. Hitchcock further asserts being an "absolute proponent" for an optimization strategy and cites three key areas in which to enhance the ED's effectiveness and revenue: 1) inflow (how to get the patient into the hospital), throughput (the time patients spend in the ED and their care), and output (preparing patients to leave for the next transition of care).

The second half of the podcast centers on the increasing use of emergency department EHR solutions to automate processes such as patient documentation and to augment seamless data exchange. Hitchcock warns that selecting an EHR that is not truly designed for the unique nature and workflow of the ED often leads to less than optimal results.

"The emergency department is driven primarily from the aspect of unscheduled care, and the timeframes for that care are extremely short... the follow up or the transition of care after the ED visit is generally not coming back to the emergency department, and so it needs to fit into a more longitudinal care episode for the patent," he comments. "The EHR really does offer the physician, nurses, the techs and others many great options for how to help drive their daily activities and how to improve it, and a lot has to do with increased communications... It also provides an opportunity to reduce errors."

In addition to serving as T-System's CMIO, Hitchcock works part time as an emergency medicine physician at Manatee Memorial Hospital and Lakewood Ranch Medical Center in Bradenton, Fla.

About T-System
T-System, Inc. sets the industry standard for clinical, business and IT solutions for emergency medicine, with approximately 40 percent of the nation's emergency departments using T-System solutions. To meet the individual needs of hospitals, T-System offers both paper and electronic systems. These tools help clinicians provide better patient care, while improving efficiency and the bottom line. Today, more than 1,700 emergency departments rely on T-System's gold-standard content and workflow solutions. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter (@TSystem), or become a T-System fan on Facebook.

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T-System, Inc.
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