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Ochsner Health System, Surgical Information Systems Partner to Rebuild New Orleans Healthcare Infrastructure

ATLANTA, Nov. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- For over a decade Ochsner Health System has enjoyed a partnership with Surgical Information Systems (SIS) that has resulted in improved patient care, cost savings and increased revenues for Ochsner's surgical services. In recent years, the people of New Orleans have seen more than their share of tragedy. Natural disasters -- most notably Hurricane Katrina -- have left the greater New Orleans hospital infrastructure badly damaged. Ochsner Medical Center was one of the only hospitals that remained fully functional during and after Katrina.

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In the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane, about half of the area's operating rooms were destroyed leaving the remaining medical facilities under staffed and over crowded. Dr. Lynn Witherspoon, system vice president and CIO for Ochsner Health System, credits the efficiencies provided by SIS' information technology with giving the Operating Room (OR) staff the tools they needed to provide care to a substantially increased number of patients.

"Our decision was to take all patients regardless of whether they were previously scheduled or able to pay," said Witherspoon. "We learned that in a disaster situation it's all about doing whatever it takes. That's why we looked to our perioperative partner, Surgical Information Systems, to aid our physicians and clinicians in helping us meet the demand for surgical healthcare services. Without SIS installed in our ORs the challenge would have been much greater."

In the three years since Katrina, Ochsner has increased its outpatient surgical activity and acquired five community hospitals in part to meet the community's growing demand for surgical services. Dr. Witherspoon said that standardizing around SIS has enabled the health system to open ambulatory surgical centers and expand ORs wherever necessary, quickly providing consistent information on all of Ochsner's surgical patients.

Said Witherspoon, "Ochsner is a critical community resource. In years and months following hurricanes Katrina and Gustav, SIS has enabled us to increase our aid to the communities we serve. Our partnership with SIS gives us the flexibility we need to reach out to the injured in New Orleans and to efficiently open new facilities to meet demand."

As many Louisiana hospitals have learned first-hand, it is difficult to balance fiscal health with the healthcare needs of a community during and after disasters. Health systems that best survive these crises do so because they work with technology partners to deploy system-wide solutions that are effective and able to provide quick and easy access to information in even the most challenging of times.

The benefits of the SIS solution are just as important in light of the current financial crisis. Continued success from the perioperative arena is critical to all hospitals and Ochsner is no exception. The Ochsner-SIS partnership has continued to expand in recent years with the deployment of SIS across the enterprise. In addition to the benefits of standardization and increased productivity in all of its hospitals and medical centers, Dr. Witherspoon notes that the organization has seen significant improvement in clinical, operational and financial outcomes. Of particular value is SIS Analytics, a business intelligence software application that enables the analysis of surgery data needed to make critical business decisions.

Ochsner's partnership with SIS not only supports the delivery of highest quality surgical care to the community, but has also enabled the organization to effectively expand surgical services in the years since the disaster. Dr. Witherspoon concluded that, "SIS has delivered for Ochsner Health System and ultimately for the citizens of New Orleans in both good times and bad. It is this type of bond that transforms the vendor-client relationship into a truly value-added partnership."

About Ochsner Health System

Ochsner Health System is a not-for-profit multi-specialty healthcare delivery system dedicated to patient care, research and education. The system includes seven hospitals and over 35 health centers located throughout Southeast Louisiana. Ochsner employs more than 600 physicians in 80 medical specialties and subspecialties and supports more than 300 clinical research trials annually. Ochsner continuously meets the ever-changing patients and community needs through electronically-linked hospitals and health centers. Electronic medical records are available from any Ochsner location enabling consistent high quality patient care, both for routine health needs and more complex medical conditions. Learn more at

About SIS

SIS provides software solutions that are uniquely designed to add value at every point of the perioperative process. Developed specifically for the complex surgical environment, all SIS solutions -- including anesthesia -- are architected on a single database and integrate easily with other hospital systems. SIS offers the only surgical scheduling system endorsed by the American Hospital Association (AHA), a rules-based charging system that has been granted Peer Reviewed status by the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), and an Analytics platform providing analysis of both clinical and business information.

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SOURCE Surgical Information Systems
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