Psychiatric hospital in Connecticut to roll out open source EHR system

NEW CANAAN, CT—Silver Hill Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in New Canaan, Conn., is installing an open source electronic health record system first developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 20 years ago.

Silver Hill HospitalSilver Hill signed a five-year contract with Carlsbad, Calif.-based Medsphere Systems Corp. for implementation, training and support of Medsphere's OpenVista electronic health record system.

OpenVista is the commercialized version of the VistA EHR.

Open source interoperability will enable Silver Hill, working closely with Medsphere, to build and configure the EHR to meet the particular needs of the hospital.

"The goal is to ensure that our patients receive the highest quality of care available through the latest technological advances," said Sigurd Ackerman, MD, president and medical director at Silver Hill Hospital. "OpenVista gives us a proven solution that will equip our staff with better information for medical decisions and improve efficiency of care."

Under the terms of the contract, the implementation of OpenVista at Silver Hill will provide psychiatric practitioners with a comprehensive electronic health record in the OpenVista Clinical Information System, computerized physician order entry (CPOE) functionality, an inpatient bar code medication administration system, a health information management system, interoperability via the OpenVista Interface Suite, and testing support through the laboratory application.

Silver Hill practitioners will have access to OpenVista Group Notes, which allow behavioral treatment therapists to use a single interface to take clinical notes for a group of patients. The notes are then automatically saved in individual patient records. The Group Notes feature is particularly useful in clinical documentation of group therapy sessions at psychiatric facilities, according to Medsphere.

"Medsphere's partnership with Silver Hill is significant both for the support it will provide clinicians at the hospital and the example it offers of the effectiveness of OpenVista in a variety of healthcare environments," said Michael J. Doyle, president and CEO of Medsphere. "With recent activity in Washington, VistA-based solutions are now the potential backbone of a national healthcare IT network. This puts Silver Hill in a very good position and demonstrates the vision of Dr. Ackerman and his staff."

The selection of OpenVista by Silver Hill preceded by several days the announcement by West Virginia Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV of legislation he is sponsoring that calls for the use of proven open source EHRs to improve patient care. The Rockefeller bill, called The Health Information Technology Public Utility Act of 2009, would require the federal government to develop standards for an interoperable health IT system and create an open source electronic health records solution available to all healthcare providers at little or no cost.