“Big Bang” Launches Electronic Health Record System at Interim LSU Public Hospital

The electronic health record system at the Interim LSU Public Hospital (ILH), in New Orleans, arrived with a bang on July 29 and immediately went live throughout the facility, in inpatient and outpatient settings, surgery, the emergency department and business suites.  This comprehensive and instantaneous “Big Bang” rollout at ILH of the LSU Patient Electronic Health Information and Care Network, known as PELICAN, is in contrast with the piecemeal implementation of electronic health records hospitals commonly employ.

PELICAN will soon link all 10 LSU Health hospitals and 500 physician clinics statewide in the switch from the patient’s paper chart to the electronic health record, keeping LSU Health at the forefront of twenty-first century healthcare.

As soon as a provider enters information into a patient’s password-protected electronic health record, PELICAN’s single integrated database allows all healthcare providers in LSU hospitals and affiliated clinics to have immediate access to the information.  This access speeds up treatment and makes medical care safer and more effective.

Healthcare providers can now use iPhones, iPads, and mobile computer stations rolled to the patient’s bedside to view medical histories, prescriptions, X-rays, MRIs, lab results, dietary needs and more.  Flags in the patient’s electronic health record will automatically alert providers to medication allergies, potential drug interactions, dosage concerns and other medical issues.  Providers can eliminate duplicate tests that slow the delivery of treatment.  PELICAN is making healthcare at ILH more efficient and more cost-effective.

“The implementation of the electronic health record is essential for us to deliver  high-quality healthcare more safely and more efficiently.  It is also a national priority, and we are meeting that priority,” said Dr. Juzar Ali, ILH Medical Director.  “PELICAN will enhance the quality healthcare that the Interim LSU Public Hospital has always been known for.  It will also strengthen our coordinated delivery of service between points of care and will boost the unique delivery of healthcare we provide to our community and with our community clinic partners and their patients.”

LSU’s previous electronic health record system is incorporated into PELICAN so that all of a patient’s medical records are available in a one-patient, one-chart, electronic health-record format anytime LSU Health delivers care.

PELICAN is a win-win for provider and patient.  Besides the caregiver having immediate access to all of the patient’s medical records, the patient has access as well.  A PELICAN component called “My Chart” allows patients, via a web browser, to view their medical data, check test results and make appointments.  Doctors now have better tools for patient care, and patients have better tools for monitoring their care.

PELICAN also significantly strengthens LSU Health’s safety net role, especially during emergencies or mass evacuations.  In 2005, due to Hurricane Katrina, patients were evacuated from New Orleans area hospitals, many leaving behind essential medical records, to hospitals and shelters where doctors had little or no information on medical histories, medicines or past treatments.  Some patients were too sick to relay to medical staff the specifics of their condition.  With PELICAN, a patient can leave ILH and arrive at any LSU hospital or clinic in the state, where healthcare providers will have immediate access to the patient’s electronic health record and can resume care without missing a beat.  Eventually, the Louisiana Health Information Exchange (LaHIE) will electronically link private hospitals to PELICAN on a case-by-case basis.

LSU staff statewide converged on ILH for the launch of PELICAN.  LSU Health’s comprehensive reach sets PELICAN apart from other electronic health record systems in smaller public and private healthcare providers in the nation.  PELICAN’s statewide implementation is another demonstration of the value to Louisiana citizens of LSU’s organized and highly coordinated network of quality healthcare.

This rich source of healthcare data will also be available to LSU medical researchers, with the full protection of patient confidentiality, for studying effective treatments and practices.

To prepare for the rollout of PELICAN, ILH provided extensive training for medical staff, house staff and ILH staff and engaged patients in an educational campaign on PELICAN’s startup and benefits. It also provided training to community-partner clinic personnel so that they have appropriate access to their patients who are treated at ILH and use its specialty services.

The first LSU hospital to initiate PELICAN was LSU Health in Shreveport last November, making LSU Health the first statewide, public healthcare network in the United States to deploy electronic health records at its hospitals and physician clinics.  By June 2013, all LSU hospitals will be using PELICAN for the coordinated care of the more than 500,000 patients LSU Health sees each year.

More than $144 million in state and federal funds will pay for the five-year planning and development of the statewide PELICAN system.   With an initial investment of state appropriations of $30 million in 2008 and $3 million in 2009 and a $24 million LSU Health investment, LSU Health will receive approximately $87 million in federal funding for its implementation of PELICAN.  Of the $144 million, more than $19.2 million went to the development and implementation of PELICAN at ILH through June 30, 2012.

The Health Care Services Division of LSU Health is one of the largest public healthcare delivery systems in the country.  It has over 33,000 inpatient admissions, 172,000 inpatient days, 583,000 outpatient clinic visits, 1,118,000 outpatient encounters, and 269,000 emergency department encounters.  Each year more than 1,200 residents and fellows from the LSU and Tulane Schools of Medicine and Ochsner Health System and 2,900 nursing and allied health students from many colleges and universities are trained in LSU HCSD facilities.