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Hospital in 'building block' stages of major computerization program.

When St. Joseph's General Hospital in North Bay went shopping for a computer system, it made its purchase decision based on software.

"When you purchase hospital software, you don't go purchasing a machine, you go purchasing the software which makes the hospital run. The machine is useless without the software," says Ram Trumpickas, the hospital's supervisor of information systems.

St. Joseph's opted to buy the Proprietary Magic operating system developed by Meditech (Medical Information Technology Inc.) of Boston, Mass. The program is operated by a Data General, Aviion 6200 hard drive, with shadowed 660 megabyte disk drives.

St. Joseph's was the third hospital in Northern Ontario to adopt the Meditech system. It began the process last March by bringing its admitting and medical records on line.

Meditech operating systems are also in place at Sudbury's General and Memorial hospitals. There are 36 hospitals in Canada which have, or are installing the system. About 400 hospitals use it worldwide.

Trumpickas says the software has been written specifically for hospitals, and Meditech works closely with the users on modifications.

The system at St. Joseph's can support up to 1,000 users. However, associate executive director Mike Hewitt says the hospital is still in "the building block stages."

So far the hospital has connected the system to its radiology department, nuclear medicine department, operating rooms and primary-care unit. A viewing terminal has also been installed on each floor of the hospital.

St. Joseph's finance department is scheduled to be connected early this year. The cost of the project up to that point will be $500,000.

Additional departments will be connected as the hospital's budget permits.

The need for computer-generated information will increase in the near future when the province switches to an index-weighted hospital funding system. The current, simpler funding system is based on the past year's total number of patient days.

Trumpickas insists that confidential patient files are secure once entered into the computer system. The information can only be accessed with the proper password, and the proprietary, single-vendor software is hacker - and virus-proof.
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Title Annotation:St. Josephs's General Hospital, North Bay, Ontario
Author:Smith, Marjie
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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