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TMC Designated a Neuroscience Center of Excellence

Tucson Medical Center has been designated a Neuroscience Center of Excellence by Chicago-based NeuStrategy Inc., sponsor of the 2006-2007 Neuroscience Center of Excellence Survey. The survey, the only one of its kind in the neurosciences, evaluated 150 hospital-based neuroscience programs across 41 states. A hospital's overall performance is determined by measuring program progress in four key areas: clinical and research programs; staff; facilities; and technology and business. Of the 150 hospital neuroscience programs surveyed, only 42 percent received the Neuroscience Center of Excellence recogntion. "Center of Excellence designees represent many of the leading, innovative programs across the country, and Tucson Medical Center is proud to be acknowledged for our multidisciplinary approach and commitment to the highest standards of neurological and neurosurgical patient care," said Judy Rich, TMC HealthCare president and CEO. TMC's neurosciences program combines state-of-the-art neuroimaging technology and "the most comprehensive range of neurological specialists and services in Southern Arizona," said Palmer Evans, MD, chief medical officer. Only one other hospital in Arizona ­ Barrow Neurological Institute of St Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, in Phoenix ­ won the 2006-2007 Neuroscience Center of Excellence designation.

Tucson Medical Center has embarked on a $20 million project to improve patient safety and quality of care by replacing paper patient charts with digital records. Called OneChart, TMC's new patient-record system is expected to be operational by mid2010. Chart notes written in doctors' and nurses' hurried scrawl ­ difficult to read and easy to misinterpret ­ will be a thing of the past. And so will the kinds of medical errors that result when a decimal point is overlooked, a chart note is lost or a handwritten drug name or dosage amount is mistaken for something else. President and CEO Judy Rich said OneChart will "protect patient safety, improve efficiencies and reinforce quality." And by reducing TMC's dependence on paper, it will be good for the environment, Rich says. Doctors will no longer have to dictate chart notes, then wait 24 hours for someone to transcribe them and return the proper record to the doctor for signature. Doctors, nurses and other hospital staff will input information directly into the OneChart system, where it will instantly be available to whoever needs it. That could be a surgeon waiting in an operating room for

a lab report, a nurse wanting to double-check a medication dose, or a doctor at a clinic in an outlying county who wants to follow up on a patient she admitted to TMC. And OneChart is "smart" ­ it will know when a patient is allergic to a type of antibiotic, and warn the doctor instantly if he prescribes a drug in the same class. OneChart also will recognize when a doctor prescribes an unusual dose of a certain drug, and ask the doctor if that really is the dose the patient should get. The doctor can override the system and in that case, the "conversation" between OneChart and the doctor will be on record as well. "We are working with the most experienced companies to implement OneChart, and we are learning from them," says Frank Marini, TMC vice president and chief information officer. "Our ultimate goal is to optimize patient care, to benefit patients, physicians and TMC."

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