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Doctors using iPads part of $60 million electronic conversion at St. Luke's

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 03 2012 03:57:01 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 03 2012 04:42:50 PM CDT

Doctors trade prescription pads for iPads

FOUNTAIN HILL, Pa. -

Doctors at St. Luke's Hospital are trading in pens and prescription pads for the iPad.

It's all part of a $60 million medical record conversion where paper files will all be stored on a server. 

But how safe is your medical history? According to the hospital, the records are very secure. The information is on a secured off-site server, and the iPad doesn't actually store any data on its hard drive.

It's another step toward the future for St. Luke's University Health Network

“A very useful tool for me because I am able to be more mobile,” said Dr. Christopher Alia, a pulmonary physician who has been using the iPad for a few months now.

The major benefit to the patients, Alia said, is the coordination of the records.

"If I see a patient for a pulmonary consultation and then one of our other providers sees a patient for their primary care visit, they have immediate access to my records," added Alia.

Doctors and nurses are able to fill prescriptions, keep all records, and even look at x-rays.

While some like the ease of the new system.....

“There are some people who still have a little bit of hesitancy of taking an electronic prescription," said Alia. "But it's worked very well.”     

Part of the concern is how secure are the medical records. The hospital said it stores the records on two secure servers.

“The iPad does not store any information," said Mario Galan, IT manager at St. Luke's Physicians Group. "It's a read only device as well as an encrypted device.”   

Soon, doctors will be seeing more records as more departments come on line.
Also, with the developer on site, more changes to the program could be on the way, as well.

“We take their feedback and we incorporate it into the application, and again, because of the way that it is built, it is very rapid prototyping and put out rapid releases,” said Laurie McGraw, chief client officer for Allscripts,  

St. Luke's is also working on a health information exchange network. It will help patients talk to doctors from home.