Data center helps protect Mercy patients

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ARDMORE, OK - From strong thunderstorms to tornadoes .to even earthquakes, spring weather in Oklahoma can be very unpredictable, and one local hospital is taking steps to make sure your health information will be protected when a disaster strikes. Dara Downs has more.

It may be the last thing on your mind during a natural disaster, but having access to patient medical records can be vital for doctors and nurses. Now thanks to a new $60 million facility, patients records throughout the Mercy Health System will be safe.

The new data center being built in Missouri will hold all electronic patient records for the 26 Mercy hospitals in four states. Senior Vice President for Mercy Memorial in Ardmore Jay Johnson says they will have all files converted by the end of this year, eliminating the time doctors spend leafing through patient records.

"You see some medical records those files are two three four inches thick. The record will help pull out things that are important for doctors to see," Johnson says.

The technology the new state-of-the-art center can transfer information in a matter of seconds to anywhere in the system, giving doctors crucial access into the medical history of their patients.

"We'll be able to retrieve data not only from things that are done here locally, but if they have had tests at other facilities or test in other physician offices it'll all be right there at our finger tips."

Having that kind of access is something Dr. Pam Kimbrough says is very important to making sure patients get the best treatment.

"It prevents medication errors. For me to prescribe something when someone was on something else, that might interact. It prevents duplicating of tests if they've already had something done," Dr. Kimbrough says.

The center has been called the "Fort Knox" of medical data, hosting iron clad firewalls and back up generators to make sure that any patients medical records are safe.

It's something Johnson says is important to every hospital and patient.

"One of the things with the public is they trust that when they come to the hospital they trust us that we'll protect their health care information because its one of the most private things all of us have."

The new facility is scheduled to be up and running in August.