Within many of small, rural hospitals staff members are quietly making tangible progress in making the most of information technology. Montgomery County Memorial Hospital, in the rolling hills of southwestern Iowa is among those making IT inroads. After implementing numerous clinical applications, the hospital is bringing electronic health records to the physician practices it owns. CEO Allen Pohren, believes that the 25-bed critical access hospital is investing so heavily in IT to build loyalty among physicians, especially 18 specialists from the Omaha area who visit the hospital in Red Oak about once a week.
Pohren, who has been with the hospital nearly 37 years, remembers the day when he acquired the facility’s first computer to help with payroll and receivables. Presently, the hospital has a nine-person I.T. staff led by CIO Ron Kloewer. Here’s just one example of how far the rural hospital has come in its use of IT, one area neurologist who splits his time between Pakistan and Iowa can access data on patients while he’s out of the country, thanks to the hospital’s portal. The small-town hospital CEO views IT as an essential tool for improving patient safety as well as staff efficiency.