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U of M & Methodist Healthcare Launch Center for Healthcare and Technology
For release: June 7, 2006
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The University of Memphis and Methodist Healthcare today announced the establishment of the Center for Healthcare and Technology (CHT), which will pursue improved patient experiences and outcomes initially for Memphis and the Mid-South and eventually the nation. The Center is made possible by a $750,000 gift from the Urban Child Institute, a philanthropic organization focused on children in Memphis, via the Methodist Healthcare Foundation.

The mission of the CHT is to improve the usefulness and application of technology in healthcare by improving processes in healthcare environments and soliciting feedback and involvement from healthcare providers, patients, researchers and technology providers. In addition, the CHT will conduct proprietary research on a contract basis for individual healthcare providers. The CHT will be the focal point for a consortium approach, which will involve a number of healthcare providers. Solutions for problems addressed by the CHT will have a potential impact on healthcare environments on a national and global level.

"Building productive partnerships with the community is one of the hallmarks of the University of Memphis," said Dr. Shirley C. Raines, U of M president. "The Center for Healthcare and Technology will build on the research and technology strengths of the University and the healthcare expertise of Methodist. As other healthcare organizations join the Center, we will always be grateful to the Methodist Healthcare Foundation and the Urban Child Institute for becoming the first partners in the Center."

In addition to the funding which will allow the CHT to thrive, Methodist Healthcare is taking a lead role by commissioning initial research in its facilities which will allow the CHT to analyze and improve technology adoption, thereby improving the patient experience – and saving lives.

"The highest level of patient care is our ultimate goal," said Gary S. Shorb, president and chief executive officer for Methodist Healthcare. "We are optimistic about the Center for Healthcare and Technology's ability to help us deliver that."

For the Methodist Healthcare project, the CHT will leverage the expertise of University of Memphis faculty in the Center for Supply Chain Management at the FedEx Institute of Technology. Through this process, the CHT will recommend ways to improve the timeliness, accuracy, and completeness of clinical information input into electronic medical records (EMRs).

Paul Cornell, director of the Center, said oversight of the Center will be handled by Scott Messmore, currently a CEO in Residence with the FedEx Institute, and a steering committee made up of Methodist Healthcare and University of Memphis representation. "Methodist Healthcare's aggressive involvement in this venture is only the beginning," said Messmore, owner and president of MBI and a former vice president of Steelcase. "We expect further investments by other entities that can benefit from joint research and improved technology and processes in healthcare environments worldwide."

Projects in the CHT's immediate future will include a critique of the design of hospitals' nursing stations for functionality and efficiency in a highly technological environment. Barriers will be identified and eliminated so that nurses can more efficiently place information electronically in patient charts. The CHT's staff will also examine how current hand-held electronic devices can be adapted for strictly medical use. The former would involve the Steelcase Company, manufacturer of office interiors, and the latter would involve such well-known names in the computer industry as Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

Methodist is enthusiastic that the project team will not be restricted to "off the shelf" technology improvements, but rather charged with coming up with ideas for entirely new types and categories of devices. The CHT expects that other local healthcare providers, and those beyond this area, will soon be calling upon them for innovative solutions and best practices.

"The formation and projects of the CHT will guide us on our journey to enhance care of our adult and pediatric patients by leveraging technology," said Donna Abney, executive vice president with Methodist Healthcare. "The University of Memphis Center for Healthcare and Technology at the FedEx Institute will provide solid research and ‘out of the box' thinking we need to move to the next level of patient care."

This work dovetails with Methodist Healthcare's technology commitment. Millions have been spent to integrate Methodist's clinical systems and to archive radiology images digitally.

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Last updated: 03/19/2008 15:28:53
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