A Picture of Health

UTMB connects doctors with patients all over the world.

Cutting-edge telemedicine services enable University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston Texas (UTMB) to treat an average of 60,000 patients a year. The heart of its UTMB Electronic Health Network service is a powerful electronic medical record (EMR) system based on Oracle Database 10g. UTMB's Electronic Health Network combines EMR with networking technology, remote diagnostic equipment, and videoconferencing.

 

Dr. Glen Hammack, assistant vice president and executive director of the UTMB Electronic Health Network, reveals that the EMR used by the system is very complete and contains everything from dental care to mental health services, as well as information on chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. Everything is documented in the daily electronic medical record system. Currently, the system handles over a million interactions a day and averages over 3,000 simultaneous EMR users.

What do a NASA astronaut in Star City, Russia, and a pregnant woman in rural Texas have in common? They both can receive world-class medical care from physicians and specialists at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB). The UTMB Electronic Health Network provides telemedicine services to clients as far away as Antarctica and as close as a few blocks away from the UTMB campus. At the core of the service is a powerful electronic medical record (EMR) system built on Oracle Database 10g.

UTMB got its start in telemedicine while serving patients in the Texas prison system, where it leveraged technology to provide inmate care at one-third the cost of what other states typically pay, saving the state of Texas more than US$1 billion since 1993. Along the way, UTMB fine-tuned its case management system and centralized its pharmacy system and then migrated these into a simple and useful EMR. Now, by combining its powerful EMR with networking technology, videoconferencing, and remote diagnostic equipment, the UTMB Electronic Health Network has built a telemedicine program that has more than half its clients outside the corrections system and is poised to take on new markets.

Profit spoke to Dr. Glenn Hammack, assistant vice president and executive director of the UTMB Electronic Health Network, about the network's telemedicine business and the technology that makes it possible.

PROFIT: What information is stored in your EMR system?

HAMMACK: Every patient we see has his or her entire healthcare cycle documented in the EMR. It contains everything from dental care to mental health services; to chronic healthcare like diabetes, blood pressure, and heart disease; to acute healthcare, such as emergencies. We see more than 1,000 patients a week, so we average 60,000 patients a year through remote technologies linked to the EMR. We average more than 3,000 simultaneous EMR users. We handle way more than a million interactions a day, and at the end of every day there are more than 50,000 new clinical notes in the EMR.

 

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