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Glades General Hospital First in Palm Beach County to Provide On-Site Electronic Birth Registration

BELLE GLADE, Fla., Aug. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Glades General Hospital became the first hospital in Palm Beach County to register births literally at bedside. Thanks to its new Electronic Birth Registry (EBR) system, launched on August 8, Glades General has automated and accelerated the process of registering births, reducing the costs and processing time. Now the staff at Glades General can gather the patient data, print out the report, and get the required electronic signatures -- all at the bedside, within minutes. Once she's released, the new mom can immediately obtain an official copy of the newborn's birth certificate at the Office of Vital Statistics at the Palm Beach County Health Department, located at 1150 45th Street in West Palm Beach. Before, parents in Florida had to wait as long as six weeks to receive their new baby's birth certificate in the mail.

"We are very proud to be the first in the county to roll out this new system," says David Zechman, the Chief Executive Officer of Glades General. "This distinction highlights the fact that Glades General -- even though it's a rural hospital -- is at the forefront of health care technology in Florida."

Glades General Hospital is a 73-bed JCAHO accredited acute care hospital that provides a 24-hour physician staffed emergency room and a full-range of inpatient and out-patient services. As Palm Beach County's only public hospital, Glades General provides quality care to 3,600 inpatients a year. Since acquiring Glades General Hospital in 2004, the Health Care District of Palm Beach County has invested $3.5 million in new technology, including a 16-slice CT scanner, a digital radiology system, flat-screen computer monitors, flat-screen televisions, a state-of-the-art electronic patient documentation system, and wireless technology in the Obstetrics Unit, which is a technical requirement for the EBR system.

The EBR system is an initiative of the Florida Department of Health Office of Vital Statistics. In May 2007 the agency invited hospitals in Palm Beach County which process birth certificates to attend a seminar on the EBR system. "We were eager to sign up for this opportunity," says Judith A. Oliver, Director, HIM and HIPAA Privacy Officer at Glades General Hospital. "It saves the hospitals a lot of money in paper, overnight mail charges, staff time, and software rental. Because Glades General is already wireless in the OB Unit, we were selected to be the first to go live with the system."

In addition, the EBR enables Glades General to communicate electronically with the Healthy Start program, which offers assistance to qualified mothers. With the new system, Glades General Hospital significantly reduces the time required to issue a Social Security card to the newborn. The system also eliminates the need for a Healthy Start coordinator to personally visit the hospital to interview the applicant. Glades General, working in conjunction with Healthy Mothers/Healthy Babies, is the only hospital in Palm Beach County to have achieved 100 percent compliance with the Healthy Start screening program for the past three years.

"We have more breakthrough systems in the project pipeline," says Adam Levenson, Glades General Hospital's Chief Information Officer. "This fall we're planning to roll out a medication reconciliation reporting system so our doctors and nurses know a patient's medication history at the time of admission. Doctors at Glades General will also take part in electronic transcription so they can access, edit, and print their dictation about a patient on-line. We're also excited about a new system in which our nurses will soon be using hand-held computers with scanners that will read bar-coded identification bracelets worn by each patient. This technology will ensure the medication prescribed for each patient is properly and safely dispensed."

In March of this year, Adam Levenson received an "Achievement of Accomplishment" award from the Palm Beach County Community Health Alliance. The award touted his efforts in establishing a shared data computer registry program called Allcare. Under the state-wide Allcare system, which is being finalized for implementation, physicians can access their patients' medical documentation and history from any hospital within the Allcare network.

About Glades General Hospital:

Glades General Hospital is a JCAHO accredited, 73-bed acute care facility located in the heart of a large agricultural belt on the southern shores of Lake Okeechobee. With just over 300 employees, GGH is one of the largest employers in the Glades. GGH provides a 24-hour physician staffed Emergency Room with access to Trauma Hawk air ambulance. GGH offers both in-patient and out-patient services: Obstetrics; General Surgery; Radiology including CT, MRI/MRA, Nuclear Medicine, Ultrasound, Fluoroscopy and Mammography; Physical Therapy and Wound Care; Respiratory Therapy; Cardiac Rehabilitation; Social Services; Utilization Review and Wellness Programs.

SOURCE Glades General Hospital
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