IT to Connect a CommunityA healthcare network in the U.S. uses healthcare IT to deliver higher-quality care effectively

Access to Medical Information

February 26, 2014 | Inspira, a new force in healthcare for southern New Jersey, sees IT as a key component in bringing the community together to deliver higher-quality care more effectively.

Text: Roman Elsener
Photos: Skye Parrot

Tom Pacek, CIO of Inspira
Tom Pacek, CIO of Inspira

“What we’re looking to accomplish is what Siemens is looking to develop,” says Tom Pacek, CIO of Inspira, a new healthcare network in southern New Jersey that strives to connect not only hospitals and physicians, but also the general public via electronic medical records (EMR) and online platforms, with the goal of bringing better, more efficient care to the region.

Development with a Phased Approach
More than five years ago, long before the merger between South Jersey Healthcare and Underwood-Memorial Hospital that brought about Inspira, Tom Pacek and Chet Kaletkowski, until recently President and CEO of Inspira Health Network, decided for Siemens Soarian®. Since then, the project team has deployed the healthcare IT solution in a modular fashion using a phased approach. Siemens supplied the applications, support, implementation, strategic consulting services, and healthcare computing center hosting services.

Chet Kaletkowski, former President and CEO of Inspira
Chet Kaletkowski, former President and CEO of Inspira

Reduced Healthcare Costs for the U.S. Healthcare System
As a participant in the NJSHINE health information exchange, Inspira’s three hospitals are linked up to Shore Medical Center and Cape Regional Medical Center in New Jersey to facilitate the transfer of healthcare information electronically and so support provider initiatives to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery.
But beyond that, Inspira is a partner in one of New Jersey’s most promising projects to implement the healthcare reform that the U.S government wants to see put in place: An overhaul of a system that has in the past spent far too much money on redundant orders, tests, and hospital stays. The key to this lies in the best possible use of IT solutions, according to Kaletkowski: “By keeping electronic records, collecting data, and thus streamlining workflows that give doctors faster access to vital information, we can significantly drive down the cost of healthcare in the USA.”

Servicing an Area of More Than 1000 Square Miles
Inspira is committed to providing high-quality care and expanding the network’s services across an area of more than 1000 square miles, unique in the USA’s most densely populated state, New Jersey. This is no easy task, a fact that is well understood by the team – especially Tom Pacek, an IT strategist with an impeccable record and a decades-long history in the business. “We’ve made significant advances since 2008,“ says Pacek. “We moved to Soarian in August of 2008 for Clinicals, and on to Soarian Financials in 2009. We’ve been adding modules ever since,” says the CIO.

hospital information exchange
With a simple scan of a wristband, patient infos can be displayed on a PC.

A Culture Change

Most of the physicians, and especially their office staff, were excited about the electronic information, but not all of them. “It’s a culture change for older doctors and a mindset change. They’re not used to being on the computer and taking messages from patients. They’re going to need some guidance from us,” says Pacek.
For him, Siemens has been a great partner in helping Inspira understand how to involve patients and doctors and determining where IT can help save significant costs. “Siemens supports us in getting these things done in a timely fashion,” the affable CIO says.

Roman Elsener is the Head U.S. Correspondent for the Swiss News Agency SDA in New York. He has worked as an editor, reporter, and producer for various European media. He has produced stories for Neue Zürcher Zeitung, NZZ am Sonntag, Swiss Television SRF, German TV ZDF, Spiegel Online, Handels-Zeitung and many more.