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Gila Regional Medical Center Achieves Prestigious Stage 6 Recognition

Pictured left: Chief Information Officer, David Furnas, BSCS, PMBA, CISM and Chief Medical Officer, Jean Remillard, MD, MBA, worked together to help physicians and staff at GRMC to recognize the direct correlation between I.T. and quality of patient care.
GRMC is number one in New Mexico and among the top one percent of healthcare organizations in North America to achieve Stage 6 of 7 in the MEDITECH EMR Adoption Model.
Gila Regional Medical Center's strong commitment to investing in technology that improves care delivery, patient safety and efficiency has brought this organization to the forefront of Health Information Technology achievement. The Health Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics division has recognized GRMC as the 50th of 5,170 hospitals in North America to achieve "Stage 6" designation of its electronic medical record system and the first in New Mexico to do so. A Stage 6 hospital has an almost paperless medical record environment.

"It's exciting for us as a not-for-profit county-owned hospital to be among the top 1% of prestigious healthcare organizations in the United States, Canada, and Mexico that have reached this significant milestone, and one of only 5 hospitals with less than 100 beds to do so," stated David Furnas, Chief Information Officer at GRMC.

In January President Barack Obama pushed for electronic health records for all Americans within five years. "To improve the quality of our health care while lowering its cost, we will make the immediate investments necessary to ensure that, within five years, all of America's medical records are computerized," Obama said in a speech at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. "This will cut waste, eliminate red tape and reduce the need to repeat expensive medical tests.

"Achieving Stage 6 is a huge accomplishment and one that has resulted from having a great team in place," says Dr. Jean Remillard, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Quality Officer.

"When I came on board at GRMC, we were at Stage 1," says Remillard. "In five years, we created a strategic plan and deployed it in one area at a time. At each stage we have remained focused on evidence-based patient care outcomes."

According to Remillard, the physician and staff buy-in of advanced clinical technologies which is so critical to attaining Stage 6 designation can be credited to GRMC's clinical leaders and physician champion, who proved utilizing technology directly correlates to enhanced patient safety.

Among the clinical leaders is Dr. Maria Elena Arizaga, who is serving as the Physician Champion at GRMC. As the liaison between the technical team and the clinicians, Dr. Arizaga is able to field concerns coming from both ends of the spectrum, giving GRMC a leg up on the challenges which typically arise when implementing new technology.

Remillard credits GRMC's dedicated team of information technologists and clinical analysts led by Furnas with bringing Stage 6 to fruition.

As the bar for patient safety continues to be raised and Medicare reimbursement regulations become stricter, Remillard believes GRMC's Stage 6 recognition is not just a testament to GRMC's status as a leading hospital today, but also an affirmation that GRMC is prepared to effectively face the future of heath care.