Hospital board recognizes electronic medical records architect

Although Director of Hospital Information Systems David Whiles has received national and worldwide recognition for his work to give Midland Memorial Hospital a fully electronic medical records system, Wednesday marked the first time he received formal kudos from the Midland County Hospital District Board of Directors.

Visitors from across the nation and world have visited Midland to see how the system—based on the one used by the Veterans Administration—was implemented.

Whiles has received coverage from The Wall Street Journal and trade magazines as well.

Whiles said he was shocked at the recognition and gave credit to the team that works with him. "It's a hospital project, not an IT (information technology) project," he said.

Board President Jay Reynolds offered congratulations and thanks to Whiles and his coworkers—Karen Grzesek from clinical information systems and Greg Wootan from hospital information systems—for their hard work. "The hospital owes you a debt of gratitude. ... Now I think the rest of the world is catching up," Reynolds said.

In 2002, Whiles recognized a need for electronic medical records and later discovered the VA's system, called OpenVista.

He first downloaded Open Source Code—available to anyone for free—in June 2003. Whiles and his department began implementing EDITH, as Midland Memorial's system is nicknamed, in the pharmacy in 2005. It went hospital-wide in 2006. It took hold with the support of hospital administration, the staff of clinical information systems providing software support and Hospital Information Systems providing hardware support, according to information from MMH.

"This is very much David's vision," MMH President and Chief Executive Officer Russell Meyers said.

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