Courtesy of The Times
EXPANDING FACILITIES, SERVICES
A major investment of $18 million is earmarked for capital projects at both the Northlake campus in Gary and the Southlake campus in Merrillville, according to Loren Chandler, vice president of finance and chief financial officer of Methodist Hospitals.
The Emergency Department at Southlake is being extended 1,800 square feet and renovated to decrease waiting time and increase the quality and delivery of patient service. This capital improvement is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2012 at a cost of $8 million.
At the Northlake campus, the Pediatrics Unit has been renovated and relocated to have patient rooms closer to the nursing station for enhanced safety. Another project at the Northlake campus will update the hospital's front lobby and provide an administration office location. In addition, all patient rooms at both campuses are being upgraded with state-of-the-art beds, flat screen TVs and new window treatments.
"We want to make the experience more comfortable for patients and their families," Chandler says.
Two specialty patient centers will also debut at the Merrillville campus this year. The Breast Care Center "will create a front door for the diagnostic services including mammography and bone densitometry. We will also be adding to our state-of-the-art equipment," he says.
The new Orthopedic and Spine Center will provide a comprehensive single location for an array of clinical options including physical therapy and pain management.
TYING TECHNOLOGY TOGETHER
As part of its major investment in technology, Methodist Hospitals is expanding the Epic computerized medical record system to the Methodist Physician Group in their private practices, says Edward Duryee, chief information officer.
Electronic medical records benefit patients because the system allows one record to be used throughout the healthcare system for each patient and enhances the continuity of care for all patients.
Epic functions over secure computer terminals. To access the system, the medical staff must enter a passcode. In addition, the system audits who uses the passcodes and keeps records of that access.
This electronic medical record system is used by nursing and medical staffs throughout the Methodist Hospitals inpatient and outpatient facilities. For example, a physician can take a laptop or I-Pad to the patient's room, enter patient data during the examination, order testing, check on test results and write prescriptions.
The medical record created by this system will follow the patient if he or she is transferred or admitted to another health care facility.
Now that same access to a patient's one medical record will be available in physicians' offices. Methodist is providing training for physicians on the Epic system.
"We are designing it and customizing it for individual support," Duryee says.
Stimulus funds from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 will be available to help defray the costs of changing over to this system.
In early April, Methodist will begin a phased roll-out of Epic in the offices of Methodist Physician Group. "One office will be rolled out at a time, one every two weeks," Duryee says. The hospital is also offering the Epic system to all physicians on its medical staff.
Another aspect of the electronic medical record system will allow patients to access information from their charts. When patients are discharged from the hospital or register for outpatient services, they will be given an access code. A secure online portal from the hospital's home Web page, www.methodisthospitals.org will take patients to the MyChart portal. There patients can receive discharge instructions, see test results, ask for prescriptions, receive appointment and test reminders and even schedule appointments with their physicians.
EXPANDING THE PHYSICIANS' NETWORK
Connecting patients with physicians is the focus of another Methodist Hospitals initiative. Satellite offices of the physician network are already open in Crown Point, Griffith and Valparaiso, and another location is planned in Schererville.
Plans call for opening 100 of the physician network satellite offices.
"Our ever-expanding physician network is currently comprised of specialists in internal medicine, family practice, general surgery, orthopedic surgery, cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, neurology, pathology, maternal-fetal medicine and bariatrics," says Ian E. McFadden, President and CEO, Methodist Hospitals. "Providing the highest standard of care, our integrative group of physicians will eventually represent the full spectrum of specialties."
Methodist's network is comprised of top quality, board-certified physicians who reflect the diversity of nationalities in the areas served by the hospitals and who provide care to all who are in need.
"In building our Physician Group, Methodist Hospitals is creating a culture of excellence in the doctor-patient relationship. We are highly selective, choosing only doctors who are best in their specialty and who follow best practice standards as their model of care," McFadden says.
PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE
Since 1911, The Methodist Hospitals Inc. has been serving residents in Lake and Porter Counties, as well as those living in communities that extend west to the Illinois border, east to LaPorte and Valparaiso, south to Lowell and beyond.
In this second decade of the 21st Century, Methodist will continue to reinvest and be a strong advocate for the physical, emotional and economic well-being of the residents in the many communities the not-for-profit healthcare system serves.