Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Claudette Lew on Health IT Executive Forum and is republished here with permission.
Gonzales Healthcare Systems in Gonzales, Texas plays a vital role in the delivery of healthcare services to the surrounding communities and like larger, complex facilities, must strive to keep costs down while offering state-of-the-art medical technology. A 34-bed acute care hospital, Gonzales found McKesson’s medical imaging solutions flexible and scalable to suit a hospital of its size, helping Gonzales modernize the clinical care they offer to their patients.
“We were seeking a medical imaging solution that was highly integrated and would link all our providers with one interoperable solution to help optimize medical imaging operations and streamline workflow across the care continuum,” says Chuck Norris, CEO, Gonzales Healthcare Systems.
The challenge for smaller, rural facilities, is that state-of-the-art technology can cost the same for a small hospital as it does for a larger one, but without the economies of scale that come with high levels of utilization. Following a competitive evaluation process, Gonzales selected McKesson for its proven ability to rapidly deploy integrated solutions with enhanced functionality. A medical imaging system that can better integrate patient data, test results and images, while streamlining workflow is just what Gonzales Healthcare Systems needed to increase collaboration and enhance productivity for providers, as well as upgrade the level of patient care they could deliver.
Gonzales looked to McKesson, whose team would be able to implement medical imaging systems tailored to the needs of the short-term, acute care facility. Gonzales’ management felt that McKesson was the gold standard and the IT infrastructure and architecture would allow Gonzales to continue to work collaboratively with partners such as Radiology Partners-Houston.
The cost of cutting-edge
After selecting McKesson as their solution provider, the team at Gonzales sought out federal assistance funding to help offset the costs. Funding for the new medical imaging systems came through a grant from USDA Rural Development. McKesson worked closely with the Gonzales Healthcare Systems Foundation in obtaining the funding to continue the hospital’s strategic mission of providing state of the art healthcare to the county and surrounding service area. These programs provide funding for rural health IT infrastructure and expand local access to high quality healthcare services for rural Americans nationwide. These programs include the Community Facilities loan and grant program, the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant program and the Rural Economic Development loan and grant program.
Connie Kacir, executive director of Gonzales Healthcare Systems Foundation, worked closely with the McKesson team when she was putting together the grant application. “We worked closely with our representative from McKesson and he was instrumental in assisting me with getting the information I needed to write the grant. He provided assistance anytime I asked, without exception. It was very important that I justified and supported the expense so that Gonzales could upgrade the level of care delivered to our patients,” Kacir explains.
With the grant funding, Gonzales was able to purchase and install McKesson Radiology™. McKesson’s solution is built on an architecture that ensures stability, performance and scalability of healthcare providers’ mission critical infrastructure. The McKesson imaging solution was a cost-effective solution for Gonzales and it was able to be customized to Gonzales’ needs.
The installation of Gonzales’ new medical imaging system earlier this summer went very smoothly, according to Kacir. The McKesson team was able to assist Gonzales in customizing the technology to suit the specific needs of the smaller, rural facility.
The new technology allows Gonzales to continue to work with Houston Radiology for teleradiology purposes, and easily transmit patient images to share studies with other radiologists and physicians for specialty reads, such as neuroradiology, pediatric or musculoskeletal. Using the PACS with Houston Radiology allows trained specialists to be available 24/7.
“There are always challenges with teleradiology, but the staff is extremely pleased with the system, with the ability to integrate with Houston Radiology, as well as the improvements they see in their day to day workflow.” says Kacir, “And there has been a tremendous amount of support from McKesson. I remember sharing with our CEO, Chuck Norris — If this is any indication of the long-term service we will receive, McKesson was without a doubt the right choice for us.”