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6/13/2016

FHN Technology Advances and Investments Continue

6/13/2016

Continuing a commitment to providing high-quality, personalized healthcare, FHN has announced the implementation of OurFHN, an overarching electronic health records (EHR) initiative. FHN began its EHR journey several years ago and OurFHN is the latest and most all-encompassing phase of its transformation to all-digital health records. "While we will be implementing this major organization-wide system architecture change over the next few months, it's important to also note that EHR is a process that will continue indefinitely as new advances in healthcare and information technology are made," said Mark Gridley, MBA, FACHE, FHN Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

"When we looked at naming this system, which will integrate nearly every technology-driven aspect of FHN from clinical care to health records and business operations, we looked first to how we were interacting technologically with our patients," said Gridley. "MyFHN, our online patient interface, was launched in 2014 and has been successfully transforming the way we communicate with patients in today's digital world. From there, it was a logical and clear step to the name for our enterprise-level electronic health records transformation journey: OurFHN. This name has meaning not just for FHN staff, but for all of our patients as well as the communities in which we do business. It represents our complete commitment to the ongoing importance of technology in healthcare, positions us broadly for the future, and will benefit everyone connected with FHN."

EHR systems, which include a number of mandates from the federal government, offer many benefits to both patients and providers, including greater convenience, quicker and better communications, reduced opportunity for miscommunication, automated reminders, faster test results, greater protection of patient privacy and records, and the ability to access the entire world of medical knowledge and information instantaneously. They also empower patients to take a more active role in their own healthcare and that of their families, and have proved to increase patient satisfaction.

"More efficient, more coordinated, more personalized," said Gridley. "That all adds up to our ability to deliver even more healthcare excellence for our patients, which is what OurFHN is all about."

During the transition, which will begin with testing in June and will be complete at year-end, patients may experience minor delays in scheduling appointments, particularly in October. FHN has prepared to minimize this impact by ensuring that staff are well aware of options that can be offered as needed. Patient safety will be maintained as a top priority at all times.

The current OurFHN initiative represents a major technology investment in patient care and our community health system by FHN, estimated at $8 million. It will increase convenience for FHN's healthcare consumers as well as resulting in better patient outcomes overall due to increased efficiency, coordination amongst providers, and communication throughout the whole organization as well as with patients and their families. OurFHN encourages patients to be more involved in their own healthcare, and provides optimum security and privacy for protected health information (PHI).

It's a very worthwhile investment, according to Gridley, in that in addition to the patient and provider benefits outlined earlier, it will help increase the organization's competitive advantage and enhance the community's economic development appeal for prospective businesses desiring locations with state-of-the-art healthcare options. It will also strengthen FHN's ability to attract healthcare professionals. Gridley anticipates that the cost will be recouped within just a few years in increased FHN productivity and growth as well as enhanced quality of care and advanced care metrics for patients, and the ability to better assist the community as a whole in achieving success in population health initiatives.