Date: 5/2/2007

St. Catherine Hospital Emergency Department goes high tech

Cindy Macak, R.N. enters patient information into a computer which is projected onto LCD screens, replacing the traditional white boards. The system also prompts doctors to check for test results and prints out patient prescriptions and instructions for follow-up care.

EAST CHICAGO — The Emergency Department at St. Catherine Hospital has gone digital. The giant whiteboard that listed incoming and outgoing patients and their status has been replaced by an electronic record-keeping system designed to increase patient safety and cut down on paperwork. Called EmpowER, the system will help staff and patients through increased accuracy, speed and safeguards. St. Catherine Hospital is the first emergency department in Northwest Indiana to utilize this system.

“St. Catherine Hospital has celebrated many firsts since opening in 1928. From the first open heart surgery and cardiac catheterization lab to CyberKnife,” said hospital administrator, Jo Ann Birdzell. “Being the first to use EmpowER makes us very proud because we know it will help us be efficient and provide very good care to the 25,000 plus patients that come to our emergency department each year.”

The system saves time and cuts down on paperwork. It places standing orders and guidelines for specific medical conditions at the physician’s fingertips and compares them with an individual’s specific medical condition. It allows caregivers to easily share specific patient data, including medical history, medication allergies and other important information.